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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 of NS–NS mergersmore » 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); 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:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); 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. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/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)},
number = 2,
volume = 855,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Table 1 Table 1: Estimates of ejected masses for high-opacity lanthanide-rich material (mdyn) and medium-opacity “winds” (mw), harvested from the recent literature for GW170817.

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  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 871, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aafafb

Neutron Star Mergers Might Not Be the Only Source of r -process Elements in the Milky Way
journal, April 2019

  • Côté, Benoit; Eichler, Marius; Arcones, Almudena
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 875, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab10db

On Neutron Star Mergers as the Source of r -process-enhanced Metal-poor Stars in the Milky Way
journal, April 2019

  • Safarzadeh, Mohammadtaher; Sarmento, Richard; Scannapieco, Evan
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 876, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab1341

Finding the Remnants of the Milky Way's Last Neutron Star Mergers
journal, July 2019

  • Wu, Meng-Ru; Banerjee, Projjwal; Metzger, Brian D.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 880, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab2593

Impact of Pulsar and Fallback Sources on Multifrequency Kilonova Models
journal, July 2019

  • Wollaeger, Ryan T.; Fryer, Chris L.; Fontes, Christopher J.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 880, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab25f5

Actinide-rich and Actinide-poor r -process-enhanced Metal-poor Stars Do Not Require Separate r -process Progenitors
journal, August 2019

  • Holmbeck, Erika M.; Frebel, Anna; McLaughlin, G. C.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 881, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab2a01

Merging Rates of Compact Binaries in Galaxies: Perspectives for Gravitational Wave Detections
journal, August 2019


The Lanthanide Fraction Distribution in Metal-poor Stars: A Test of Neutron Star Mergers as the Dominant r -process Site
journal, August 2019

  • Ji, Alexander P.; Drout, Maria R.; Hansen, Terese T.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 882, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab3291

Chemical Abundance Analysis of Tucana III, the Second r -process Enhanced Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxy
journal, September 2019


Can Neutron-star Mergers Explain the r -process Enrichment in Globular Clusters?
journal, November 2019

  • Zevin, Michael; Kremer, Kyle; Siegel, Daniel M.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 886, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab498b

Learning about the Intermediate Neutron-capture Process from Lead Abundances
journal, December 2019

  • Hampel, Melanie; Karakas, Amanda I.; Stancliffe, Richard J.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 887, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab4fe8

Gamma Rays from Kilonova: A Potential Probe of r -process Nucleosynthesis
journal, February 2020

  • Korobkin, Oleg; Hungerford, Aimee M.; Fryer, Christopher L.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 889, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab64d8

r -process Enrichment in the Galactic Halo Characterized by Nucleosynthesis Variation in the Ejecta of Coalescing Neutron Star Binaries
journal, January 2020

  • Tsujimoto, Takuji; Nishimura, Nobuya; Kyutoku, Koutarou
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 889, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab655c

ν bhlight : Radiation GRMHD for Neutrino-driven Accretion Flows
journal, April 2019

  • Miller, Jonah M.; Ryan, Ben. R.; Dolence, Joshua C.
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Vol. 241, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4365/ab09fc

GROWTH on S190426c: Real-time Search for a Counterpart to the Probable Neutron Star–Black Hole Merger using an Automated Difference Imaging Pipeline for DECam
journal, August 2019

  • Goldstein, Daniel A.; Andreoni, Igor; Nugent, Peter E.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 881, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab3046

High-precision stellar abundances of the elements: methods and applications
journal, October 2018

  • Nissen, Poul Erik; Gustafsson, Bengt
  • The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review, Vol. 26, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00159-018-0111-3

From the microscopic to the macroscopic world: from nucleons to neutron stars
journal, August 2019

  • Gandolfi, S.; Lippuner, J.; Steiner, A. W.
  • Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Vol. 46, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1088/1361-6471/ab29b3

The R -Process Alliance: First Release from the Northern Search for r -process-enhanced Metal-poor Stars in the Galactic Halo
journal, November 2018

  • Sakari, Charli M.; Placco, Vinicius M.; Farrell, Elizabeth M.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 868, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aae9df

The Origin of S-Process Isotope Heterogeneity in the Solar Protoplanetary Disk
conference, January 2020

  • Ek, Mattias; Hunt, Alison C.; Lugaro, Maria
  • Goldschmidt2020, Goldschmidt Abstracts
  • DOI: 10.46427/gold2020.655

Kilonovae
journal, December 2019


Using excitation-energy dependent fission yields to identify key fissioning nuclei in r -process nucleosynthesis
journal, April 2019

  • Vassh, N.; Vogt, R.; Surman, R.
  • Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Vol. 46, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1088/1361-6471/ab0bea

High-precision stellar abundances of the elements - methods and applications
text, January 2018


On Neutron Star Mergers as the Source of r-process Enhanced Metal Poor Stars in the Milky Way
text, January 2018


A new delay time distribution for merging neutron stars tested against Galactic and cosmic data
text, January 2019


From the microscopic to the macroscopic world: from nucleons to neutron stars
text, January 2019


Equation-of-state Constraints and the QCD Phase Transition in the Era of Gravitational-Wave Astronomy
text, January 2019


Impact of Pulsar and Fallback Sources on Multifrequency Kilonova Models
text, January 2019


Gamma-rays from kilonova: a potential probe of r-process nucleosynthesis
text, January 2019


Neutron star binary orbits in their host potential: effect on early r-process enrichment
text, January 2019


Gradient sub-grid-scale model for relativistic MHD Large Eddy Simulations
text, January 2019


Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.