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Clustering in light nuclear systems : a multi-methodic approach

Abstract : Clustering phenomena characterise several fields of natural sciences and sociology. They consist on the self-organisation of groups of objects in correlated sub-groups, introducing symmetries and, in some cases, a certain degree of order in the overall system. In nuclear physics, these aspects represent one of the most fascinating effects induced by the Pauli principle in nuclei. Their investigation is an extremely powerful tool to understand the behaviour of nuclear forces in N-body interacting systems. In this thesis, I discuss the results of an experimental campaign that explores clustering aspects in light nuclear systems from a multi-methodic approach and by using different and complementary techniques.The work start with the 10Be nucleus, predicted to be constituted by a molecular cluster structure of two alpha particles kept bound by the two extra valence neutrons. The experiment has been performed with 10Be beams produced at the INFN-LNS laboratory with the FRIBs projectile fragmentation technique. By means of particle-particle correlation techniques, signals of a new state possibly belonging to the 10Be molecular rotational band were observed. Other nuclei along the carbon isotopic chain were also investigated to understand how clustering phenomena evolve with neutron excess. For 11C and 13C we used 10B(p,alpha) and 9Be(alpha,alpha) nuclear reactions, respectively, at low energies. These measurements were made at the tandem accelerator in Naples. Measured Differential cross sections and angular distributions, together with other data available in the literature, were reproduced by R-matrix calculations, which allowed us to refine the spectroscopy of such nuclei and suggest the existence of cluster states, possibly members of molecular rotational bands. The 16C nucleus was investigated with the same setup used in the 10Be case with a very intense secondary beam. I have observed non vanishing yields in both two-body and three-body cluster disintegration channels for 16C which represent extremely rare decays. Finally, the Hoyle state in 12C (7.654 MeV, 0+) was investigated in a high-precision experiment by using the 14N(d,a) reaction at 10.5 MeV at INFN-LNS. The study has provided an upper limit to the direct three-alpha decay process of such state with an unprecedented precision. This result, which improves of a factor 5 the existing state of the art, provides important constraint to theoretical structure models as well as to stellar nucleosynthesis calculations aiming at revealing the origin of elements in the universe. Clustering phenomena have also been studied in 19F and 20Ne nuclei with the 19F(p,a) reaction at very low energies at the AN-2000 accelerator of the INFN-LNL. An R-matrix analysis of the integrated cross-section was used to provide information on the structure of the 20Ne compound nucleus with its astrophysical implications on the CNO cycle in stars.I have also used heavy ion collisions at intermediate energies to explore clustering phenomena in dilute and hot nuclear matter. I have developed a thermal model of particle-particle correlations whit the aim of describing the population of decaying unbound states produced during the evolution of violent Ar+Ni collisions at 32-95 MeV per nucleon. The limitations of a purely thermal approach in such a dynamical system have been discussed, with possible ideas to explain the mechanism which populate internal states in 8Be cluster states accounting for the interplay of thermodynamics with final state interaction effects. Such studies are relevant to model cluster formation in nuclear matter.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 13, 2018 - 4:10:07 PM
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Daniele Dell'Aquila. Clustering in light nuclear systems : a multi-methodic approach. Nuclear Experiment [nucl-ex]. Université Paris-Saclay; Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS093⟩. ⟨tel-01766472⟩

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