573 research outputs found

    Nucleosynthesis in asymptotic giant branch stars: Relevance for galactic enrichment and solar system formation

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    We present a review of nucleosynthesis in AGB stars outlining the development of theoretical models and their relationship to observations. We focus on the new high resolution codes with improved opacities, which recently succeeded in accounting for the third dredge-up. This opens the possibility of understanding low luminosity C stars (enriched in s-elements) as the normal outcome of AGB evolution, characterized by production of 12C and neutron-rich nuclei in the He intershell and by mass loss from strong stellar winds. Neutron captures in AGB stars are driven by two reactions: 13C(α,n)16O, which provides the bulk of the neutron flux at low neutron densities (Nn ≤ 107 n/cm3), and 22Ne(α,n)25Mg, which is mildly activated at higher temperatures and mainly affects the production of s-nuclei depending on reaction branchings. The first reaction is now known to occur in the radiative interpulse phase, immediately below the region previously homogenized by third dredge-up. The second reaction occurs during the convective thermal pulses. The resulting nucleosynthesis phenomena are rather complex and rule out any analytical approximation (exponential distribution of neutron fluences). Nucleosynthesis in AGB stars, modeled at different metallicities, account for several observational constraints, coming from a wide spectrum of sources: evolved red giants rich in s-elements, unevolved stars at different metallicities, presolar grains recovered from meteorites, and the abundances of s-process isotopes in the solar system. In particular, a good reproduction of the solar system main component is obtained as a result of Galactic chemical evolution that mixes the outputs of AGB stars of different stellar generations, born with different metallicities and producing different patterns of s-process nuclei. The main solar s-process pattern is thus not considered to be the result of a standard archetypal s-process occurring in all stars. Concerning the 13C neutron source, its synthesis requires penetration of small amounts of protons below the convective envelope, where they are captured by the abundant 12C forming a 13C-rich pocket. This penetration cannot be modeled in current evolutionary codes, but is treated as a free parameter. Future hydrodynamical studies of time dependent mixing will be required to attack this problem. Evidence of other insufficiencies in the current mixing algorithms is common throughout the evolution of low and intermediate mass stars, as is shown by the inadequacy of stellar models in reproducing the observations of CNO isotopes in red giants and in circumstellar dust grains. These observations require some circulation of matter between the bottom of convective envelopes and regions close to the H-burning shell (cool bottom processing). AGB stars are also discussed in the light of their possible contribution to the inventory of short-lived radioactivities that were found to be alive in the early solar system. We show that the pollution of the protosolar nebula by a close-by AGB star may account for concordant abundances of 26Al, 41Ca, 60Fe, and 107Pd. The AGB star must have undergone a very small neutron exposure, and be of small initial mass (M <= 1.5 [sols]). There is a shortage of 26Al in such models, that however remains within the large uncertainties of crucial reaction rates. The net 26Al production problem requires further investigation

    Production of 92Nb, 92Mo, and 146Sm in the gamma-process in SNIa

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    The knowledge of the production of extinct radioactivities like 92Nb and 146Sm by photodisintegration processes in ccSN and SNIa models is essential for interpreting abundances in meteoritic material and for Galactic Chemical Evolution (GCE). The 92Mo/92Nb and 146Sm/144Sm ratios provide constraints for GCE and production sites. We present results for SNIa with emphasis on nuclear uncertainties.Comment: 6 pages, 4 figures, Proceedings of the 13th Symposium on Nuclei in the Cosmos (NIC XIII), July 2014, Debrecen, Hungar

    s-Process in Low Metallicity Stars. I. Theoretical Predictions

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    A large sample of carbon enhanced metal-poor stars enriched in s-process elements (CEMP-s) have been observed in the Galactic halo. These stars of low mass (M ~ 0.9 Msun) are located on the main-sequence or the red giant phase, and do not undergo third dredge-up (TDU) episodes. The s-process enhancement is most plausibly due to accretion in a binary system from a more massive companion when on the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase (now a white dwarf). In order to interpret the spectroscopic observations, updated AGB models are needed to follow in detail the s-process nucleosynthesis. We present nucleosynthesis calculations based on AGB stellar models obtained with FRANEC (Frascati Raphson-Newton Evolutionary Code) for low initial stellar masses and low metallicities. For a given metallicity, a wide spread in the abundances of the s-process elements is obtained by varying the amount of 13C and its profile in the pocket, where the 13C(a, n)16O reaction is the major neutron source, releasing neutrons in radiative conditions during the interpulse phase. We account also for the second neutron source 22Ne(a, n)25Mg, partially activated during convective thermal pulses. We discuss the surface abundance of elements from carbon to bismuth, for AGB models of initial masses M = 1.3 -- 2 Msun, low metallicities ([Fe/H] from -1 down to -3.6) and for different 13C-pockets efficiencies. In particular we analyse the relative behaviour of the three s-process peaks: light-s (ls at magic neutron number N = 50), heavy-s (hs at N = 82) and lead (N = 126). Two s-process indicators, [hs/ls] and [Pb/hs], are needed in order to characterise the s-process distribution. In the online material, we provide a set of data tables with surface predictions. ...Comment: 31 pages, 15 figures + 6 online material, 10 table

    Presolar grains

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    Impact of Nuclear Reaction Uncertainties on AGB Nucleosynthesis Models

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    Asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars with low initial mass (1 - 3 Msun) are responsible for the production of neutron-capture elements through the main s-process (main slow neutron capture process). The major neutron source is 13C(alpha, n)16O, which burns radiatively during the interpulse periods at about 8 keV and produces a rather low neutron density (10^7 n/cm^3). The second neutron source 22Ne(alpha, n)25Mg, partially activated during the convective thermal pulses when the energy reaches about 23 keV, gives rise to a small neutron exposure but a peaked neutron density (Nn(peak) > 10^11 n/cm^3). At metallicities close to solar, it does not substantially change the final s-process abundances, but mainly affects the isotopic ratios near s-path branchings sensitive to the neutron density. We examine the effect of the present uncertainties of the two neutron sources operating in AGB stars, as well as the competition with the 22Ne(alpha, gamma)26Mg reaction. The analysis is carried out on AGB the main-s process component (reproduced by an average between M(AGB; ini) = 1.5 and 3 Msun at half solar metallicity, see Arlandini et al. 1999), using a set of updated nucleosynthesis models. Major effects are seen close to the branching points. In particular, 13C(alpha, n)16O mainly affects 86Kr and 87Rb owing to the branching at 85Kr, while small variations are shown for heavy isotopes by decreasing or increasing our adopted rate by a factor of 2 - 3. By changing our 22Ne(alpha, n)25Mg rate within a factor of 2, a plausible reproduction of solar s-only isotopes is still obtained. We provide a general overview of the major consequences of these variations on the s-path. A complete description of each branching will be presented in Bisterzo et al., in preparation.Comment: Proceedings of Science 108, XII International Symposium on Nuclei in the Cosmos 2012 (Cairns, Australia); 6 pages, 2 figure
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