Atomic nuclei have a shell structure1 in which nuclei with ‘magic numbers’ of neutrons and protons are analogous to the noble gases in atomic physics. Only ten nuclei with the standard magic numbers of both neutrons and protons have so far been observed. The nuclear shell model is founded on the precept that neutrons and protons can move as independent particles in orbitals with discrete quantum numbers, subject to a mean field generated by all the other nucleons. Knowledge of the properties of single-particle states outside nuclear shell closures in exotic nuclei is important2,3,4,5 for a fundamental understanding of nuclear structure and nucleosynthesis (for example the r-process, which is responsible for the production of about half of the heavy elements). However, as a result of their short lifetimes, there is a paucity of knowledge about the nature of single-particle states outside exotic doubly magic nuclei. Here we measure the single-particle character of the levels in 133Sn that lie outside the double shell closure present at the short-lived nucleus 132Sn. We use an inverse kinematics technique that involves the transfer of a single nucleon to the nucleus. The purity of the measured single-particle states clearly illustrates the magic nature of 132Sn.
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This work was supported by the US Department of Energy under contract numbers DEFG02-96ER40995 (Tennessee Technological University (TTU)), DE-FG52-03NA00143 (Rutgers, Oak Ridge Associated Universities), DE-AC05-00OR22725 (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), DE-FG02-96ER40990 (TTU), DE-FG03-93ER40789 (Colorado School of Mines), DE-FG02-96ER40983 (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), DE-FG52-08NA28552 (Michigan State University (MSU)), DE-AC02-06CH11357 (MSU), the National Science Foundation under contract numbers NSF-PHY0354870 and NSF-PHY0757678 (Rutgers) and NSF-PHY-0555893 (MSU), and the UK Science and Technology Funding Council under contract number PP/F000715/1.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Jones, K., Adekola, A., Bardayan, D. et al. The magic nature of 132Sn explored through the single-particle states of 133Sn. Nature 465, 454–457 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09048
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