Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

The Fate of Matter on the Surface of Accreting Neutron Stars

Michael Wiescher
Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
1:30 PM @ Stirling A

Abstract:

X-ray bursts have been identified as thermonuclear explosions on the surface of accreting neutron stars. During the thermonuclear runaway the initially hydrogen and helium rich accreted material will be rapidly converted by the rp-process towards heavy elements in the mass A=100 range. The evolution and time-scale as well as the final abundance distribution in the ashes of the thermonuclear runaway depends critically on the nuclear decay and reaction rates along the rp-process path. The talk discusses the subsequent fate of the matter due to electron capture and pycno-nuclear reaction processes in the deeper layers of the neutron star crust. The necessary conditions for the ignition of pycno-nuclear reactions will be presented and nuclear physics input information for a reliable determination of pycno-nuclear reaction rates will be identified.

Refreshments will be available after the talk.