Editor's Summary

27 May 2010

Nuclear magic


Atomic nuclei have a shell structure that allows for 'magic' numbers of neutrons and protons, analogous to the noble gases in atomic physics. Knowledge of the properties of single-particle states outside nuclear shell closures in exotic nuclei is important for fundamental understanding of nuclear structure and nucleosynthesis. Using a nucleon transfer technique to add single neutrons to the short-lived tin isotope 132Sn, to create the even-shorter-lived 133Sn, Jones et al. have been able to confirm the closed-shell 'doubly magic' nature of 132Sn. Measurements of the spectrum of quantum states available to the added neutron show that the characteristics of the 133Sn nucleus are determined almost completely by this single neutron. This finding extends the validity of the shell model to neutron-rich nuclei, and provides a benchmark for predicting the properties of nuclei even farther from stability, including those involved in neutron-capture reactions in supernovae.

News and ViewsNuclear physics: Doubly magic tin

By swapping the roles of the target and beam in an experiment that is otherwise impossible to implement, researchers have confirmed the doubly magic nature of the neutron-rich radioactive tin isotope 132Sn.

Paul Cottle

doi:10.1038/465430a

LetterThe magic nature of 132Sn explored through the single-particle states of 133Sn

K. L. Jones, A. S. Adekola, D. W. Bardayan, J. C. Blackmon, K. Y. Chae, K. A. Chipps, J. A. Cizewski, L. Erikson, C. Harlin, R. Hatarik, R. Kapler, R. L. Kozub, J. F. Liang, R. Livesay, Z. Ma, B. H. Moazen, C. D. Nesaraja, F. M. Nunes, S. D. Pain, N. P. Patterson, D. Shapira, J. F. Shriner, Jr, M. S. Smith, T. P. Swan & J. S. Thomas

doi:10.1038/nature09048