Nuclear Structure and Nuclear Reactions

PI Name: 
James Vary
PI Email:
Iowa State University
Allocation Program: 
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
155 Million
Research Domain: 

A team of researchers led by James Vary is conducting state-of-the-art simulations to provide needed predictions where direct experiment is not possible or is subject to large uncertainties. Such calculations are relevant to many applications such as nuclear energy, nuclear security, and nuclear astrophysics, where rare nuclei reside at the heart of nucleosynthesis and energy generation in the stars. This project uses complimentary methods applicable to different regions of the nuclear chart.

Among the goals, the team aims to provide an ab initio understanding of the triple-alpha burning that is essential to life on Earth. So far, ab initio investigations of the role of three-nucleon forces have been limited to light nuclei and to a few reactions. This project will investigate the role of the three-nucleon force in substantially heavier nuclei including the oxygen isotopes, 40Ca, and 56Ni and in an expanded range of nuclear reactions. The team will calculate nuclear properties relevant for the description of nuclear reactions, in particular neutron-nucleus reaction cross-sections, and fission. Studies will include various scattering processes in light nuclei and bulk properties for nuclei across the entire mass table.

A major key to achieving these goals is to deploy on leadership-class facilities the best available theoretical many-body physics tools coupled with current theory of the strong interactions, including three-nucleon potentials. The multi-institution team conducting this work has extensive experience developing the theory, the practical algorithms, and the codes to address several long-standing questions in nuclear theory.