Nuclear astrophysics

Nuclear astrophysics is the study of nuclear-level processes that occur naturally in space. Notably, this includes understanding the chain of fusion events, or nucleosynthesis, that occurs in stars, and how this can be detected from a distance by measuring the radiation these processes produce.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A rare type of supernova—triggered by the collapse of a rapidly rotating single star—could have provided more than 80 per cent of the r-process elements in the Universe.

    • Daniel M. Siegel
    • , Jennifer Barnes
    •  & Brian D. Metzger
    Nature 569, 241-244
  • Research |

    The difference between the β-decay rate predicted for free neutrons and that measured in real nuclei is explained by first-principles calculations to arise from strong correlations and the weak-force coupling between nucleons.

    • P. Gysbers
    • , G. Hagen
    • , J. D. Holt
    • , G. R. Jansen
    • , T. D. Morris
    • , P. Navrátil
    • , T. Papenbrock
    • , S. Quaglioni
    • , A. Schwenk
    • , S. R. Stroberg
    •  & K. A. Wendt
    Nature Physics 15, 428-431
  • Research |

    Star TYC 429-2097-1 contains the most lithium of any giant star, but lithium is too fragile to survive in the deep layers of a stellar atmosphere. How does the enrichment arise? Yan et al. rule out external sources (engulfment, accretion), favouring an internal process called ‘extra mixing’.

    • Hong-Liang Yan
    • , Jian-Rong Shi
    • , Yu-Tao Zhou
    • , Yong-Shou Chen
    • , Er-Tao Li
    • , Suyalatu Zhang
    • , Shao-Lan Bi
    • , Ya-Qian Wu
    • , Zhi-Hong Li
    • , Bing Guo
    • , Wei-Ping Liu
    • , Qi Gao
    • , Jun-Bo Zhang
    • , Ze-Ming Zhou
    • , Hai-Ning Li
    •  & Gang Zhao
    Nature Astronomy 2, 790-795
  • Research |

    Lattice quantum chromodynamics and a method inspired by the Feynman–Hellmann theorem are used to make a theoretical determination of the nucleon axial coupling with a precision of one per cent, giving the value 1.271 ± 0.013.

    • C. C. Chang
    • , A. N. Nicholson
    • , E. Rinaldi
    • , E. Berkowitz
    • , N. Garron
    • , D. A. Brantley
    • , H. Monge-Camacho
    • , C. J. Monahan
    • , C. Bouchard
    • , M. A. Clark
    • , B. Joó
    • , T. Kurth
    • , K. Orginos
    • , P. Vranas
    •  & A. Walker-Loud
    Nature 558, 91-94

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    One of the fundamental radioactive decay modes of nuclei is β decay. Now, nuclear theorists have used first-principles simulations to explain nuclear β decay properties across a range of light- to medium-mass isotopes, up to 100Sn.

    • Arnau Rios
    Nature Physics 15, 425-426
  • News and Views |

    Deep-sea sediments reveal the production sites of the heaviest chemical elements in the Universe to be neutron star mergers — rare events that eject large amounts of mass — and not core-collapse supernovae.

    • Friedrich-Karl Thielemann
    Nature Physics 11, 993-994
  • News and Views |

    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
    Nature 465, 430-431