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β-Decay Half-Lives of 110 Neutron-Rich Nuclei across the N = 82 Shell Gap: Implications for the Mechanism and Universality of the Astrophysical r Process

Lorusso, G.; et al.

The β-decay half-lives of 110 neutron-rich isotopes of the elements from 37 Rb to ₅₀Sn were measured at the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory. The 40 new half-lives follow robust systematics and highlight the persistence of shell effects. The new data have direct implications for r-process calculations and reinforce the notion that the second (A≈130) and the rare-earth-element (A≈160) abundance peaks may result from the freeze-out of an (n,γ)⇄(γ,n) equilibrium. In such an equilibrium, the new half-lives are important factors determining the abundance of rare-earth elements, and allow for a more reliable discussion of the r process universality. It is anticipated that universality may not extend to the elements Sn, Sb, I, and Cs, making the detection of these elements in metal-poor stars of the utmost importance to determine the exact conditions of individual r-process events.

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