University of Surrey
Understanding the atomic nucleus is crucial to countless research questions and possible applications. Just to name a few: the characterization of many-body fermion systems; the origin of the elements, and the several astrophysical mechanisms related to it; the fundamental characteristics of strong and weak interaction; energy and medical applications.
However reproducing the vast range of properties of the many nuclides discovered so far--and predicting the many more we are about to discover--using a single nuclear interaction and method remains to date a formidable task. To improve the predictive power and the consistency within various theoretical approaches, one needs to confront the problem from two angles: the starting hamiltonian and the solution to the many-body problem.
This perspective translate in my work, making use of mean field approaches:
- Introducing appropriate (momentum dependent) finite range energy-density functionals which I am currently developing together with K. Bennaceur and J. Dobaczewski.
- Developing methods to map ab-initio interactions and consistent methods into easier-to-handle functional in collaboration with the group of J. Dobaczewski in York and C. Barbieri in Surrey.
- Including higher order many-body correlations by the exploiting methods beyond mean field which I am advancing with the group of Prof. Broglia in Milan (1).
I have also used shell model calculations in my research, since they can quantitatively tackle light and odd nuclei, notoriously difficult to approach with mean field methods. In this case I am collaborating with Prof. Martinez-Pinedo to study processes of astrophysical interest; e.g., the forbidden electron capture transition which affects the collapsing core of intermediate mass supernovae (2).
Nuclear Physics can also provide important input to communities at other scales; in this respect I am particularly interested in Parity Non Conserving traces within the nuclear transitions (3).
Structure and reactions are two crucial facets of nuclear physics. Nuclear Reactions involve the transfer of momentum, energy or particles between target and projectile, and is the ultimate way we have to investigate most nuclear properties (4).
However, due to the lack of an essentially complete description of the nuclear many-body system, nuclear reactions have often relied on phenomenological models, namely in the form of optical potentials.
This Newton Fellowship in University of Surrey, in collaboration with Barbieri’s group and the local faculty, aims to bridge the gap between the two branches of the discipline by building a common consistent framework for structure and reactions. That is now possible based on new advances in fundamental ab-initio theory. Starting from a first principles nucleon-nucleon interactions we will describe nuclear reaction cross sections data in medium-heavy nuclei. Together with the above advancements in Nuclear Structure, this project fits in the broad perspective of building a versatile and reliable tool for a consistent and precise description of the atomic nucleus, to aid the prediction and interpretation of future experiments and the understanding of physical phenomena.
(1) Idini et al. arXiv:1504.05335
(2) Idini et al. PoS(NIC XIII)002 (2015).
(3) Beller, et al. PLB741:128(2015)
(4) Potel, et al. Rep. Prog. Phys. 76, 106301 (2013)