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Title: The Origin of r-process Elements in the Milky Way

Abstract

Some of the heavy elements, such as gold and europium (Eu), are almost exclusively formed by the rapid neutron capture process (r-process). However, it is still unclear which astrophysical site between core-collapse supernovae and neutron star–neutron star (NS–NS) mergers produced most of the r-process elements in the universe. Galactic chemical evolution (GCE) models can test these scenarios by quantifying the frequency and yields required to reproduce the amount of europium (Eu) observed in galaxies. Although NS–NS mergers have become popular candidates, their required frequency (or rate) needs to be consistent with that obtained from gravitational wave measurements. We address the first NS–NS merger detected by LIGO/Virgo (GW170817) and its associated gamma-ray burst and analyze their implication for the origin of r-process elements. The range of NS–NS merger rate densities of 320–4740 Gpc -3 yr -1 provided by LIGO/Virgo is remarkably consistent with the range required by GCE to explain the Eu abundances in the Milky Way with NS–NS mergers, assuming the solar r-process abundance pattern for the ejecta. Under the same assumption, this event has produced about 1–5 Earth masses of Eu, and 3–13 Earth masses of gold. When using theoretical calculations to derive Eu yields, constraining the role ofmore » NS–NS mergers becomes more challenging because of nuclear astrophysics uncertainties. This is the first study that directly combines nuclear physics uncertainties with GCE calculations. Finally, if GW170817 is a representative event, NS–NS mergers can produce Eu in sufficient amounts and are likely to be the main r-process site.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [2];  [4];  [5];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [5];  [6];  [7]
  1. Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest (Hungary). Konkoly Observatory. Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences; Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE), Notre Dame, IN (United States)
  2. Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE), Notre Dame, IN (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), Warsaw (Poland). Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center
  4. Radboud Univ. Nijmegen (Netherlands). Inst. of Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics
  5. Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States)
  6. Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE), Notre Dame, IN (United States); Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States)
  7. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States); Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE), Notre Dame, IN (United States); Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest (Hungary); Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), Warsaw (Poland)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26); National Science Foundation (NSF); European Research Council (ERC); National Science Centre (NCN) (Poland)
OSTI Identifier:
1480020
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-29520
Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396; AC52-07NA27344; SC0013039; PHY-1430152; 724560; DEC-2012/07/E/ST9/01360; 2015/19/B/ST9/01099; 2015/19/B/ST9/03188
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 855; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; close binaries; gravitational waves; nuclear reactions; nucleosynthesis; abundances; stars

Citation Formats

Côté, Benoit, Fryer, Chris L., Belczynski, Krzysztof, Korobkin, Oleg, Chruślińska, Martyna, Vassh, Nicole, Mumpower, Matthew R., Lippuner, Jonas, Sprouse, Trevor M., Surman, Rebecca, and Wollaeger, Ryan. The Origin of r-process Elements in the Milky Way. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aaad67.
Côté, Benoit, Fryer, Chris L., Belczynski, Krzysztof, Korobkin, Oleg, Chruślińska, Martyna, Vassh, Nicole, Mumpower, Matthew R., Lippuner, Jonas, Sprouse, Trevor M., Surman, Rebecca, & Wollaeger, Ryan. The Origin of r-process Elements in the Milky Way. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aaad67.
Côté, Benoit, Fryer, Chris L., Belczynski, Krzysztof, Korobkin, Oleg, Chruślińska, Martyna, Vassh, Nicole, Mumpower, Matthew R., Lippuner, Jonas, Sprouse, Trevor M., Surman, Rebecca, and Wollaeger, Ryan. Mon . "The Origin of r-process Elements in the Milky Way". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aaad67. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1480020.
@article{osti_1480020,
title = {The Origin of r-process Elements in the Milky Way},
author = {Côté, Benoit and Fryer, Chris L. and Belczynski, Krzysztof and Korobkin, Oleg and Chruślińska, Martyna and Vassh, Nicole and Mumpower, Matthew R. and Lippuner, Jonas and Sprouse, Trevor M. and Surman, Rebecca and Wollaeger, Ryan},
abstractNote = {Some of the heavy elements, such as gold and europium (Eu), are almost exclusively formed by the rapid neutron capture process (r-process). However, it is still unclear which astrophysical site between core-collapse supernovae and neutron star–neutron star (NS–NS) mergers produced most of the r-process elements in the universe. Galactic chemical evolution (GCE) models can test these scenarios by quantifying the frequency and yields required to reproduce the amount of europium (Eu) observed in galaxies. Although NS–NS mergers have become popular candidates, their required frequency (or rate) needs to be consistent with that obtained from gravitational wave measurements. We address the first NS–NS merger detected by LIGO/Virgo (GW170817) and its associated gamma-ray burst and analyze their implication for the origin of r-process elements. The range of NS–NS merger rate densities of 320–4740 Gpc-3 yr-1 provided by LIGO/Virgo is remarkably consistent with the range required by GCE to explain the Eu abundances in the Milky Way with NS–NS mergers, assuming the solar r-process abundance pattern for the ejecta. Under the same assumption, this event has produced about 1–5 Earth masses of Eu, and 3–13 Earth masses of gold. When using theoretical calculations to derive Eu yields, constraining the role of NS–NS mergers becomes more challenging because of nuclear astrophysics uncertainties. This is the first study that directly combines nuclear physics uncertainties with GCE calculations. Finally, if GW170817 is a representative event, NS–NS mergers can produce Eu in sufficient amounts and are likely to be the main r-process site.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/aaad67},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
issn = {1538-4357},
number = 2,
volume = 855,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}

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