Université de Strasbourg

Life cycle of stars

Strong constraints on the life cycle of massive stars by fusion reaction measurements

USIAS Fellow : Sandrine Courtin

The Universe cannot be younger than its oldest componants ! Knowledge of the life cycle of massive stars is thus an interesting tool to get information on the age of the Universe. However many questions on this cycle remain open, essentially linked to nuclear physics as nuclear reactions power the stars throughout their life. Among these, the knowledge of the carbon+carbon fusion reaction at thermonuclear energies is one of the biggest challenges for the future.

The present project is focused on the experimental investigation of heavy-ion fusion cross sections of astrophysical interest, in particular in systems for which molecular states have been discussed to play an essential role. The Strasbourg group in which the study will be developed has a longstanding expertise in the topic of nuclear molecules. Use will be made of the latest developments in accelerator and detection techniques which promise a step change in the sensitivity of fusion dynamics measurements at deep sub-barrier energies. Specific detection system, based on state-of-the art particle and gamma detectors will be developed. Experiments are anticipated at the Orsay Andromede and ALTO Facilities, at the Argonne National Laboratory in the USA, and in France, at the GANIL Laboratory. This project, conducted in an interdisciplinary perspective, has the potential to find new synergies between quantum tunneling fusion, clusters and stellar physics.

France 2030