skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Californium-254 and Kilonova Light Curves

Abstract

Neutron star mergers o er unique conditions for the creation of the heavy elements and additionally provide a testbed for our understanding of this synthesis known as the r-process. We have performed dynamical nucleosynthesis calculations and identi ed a single isotope, 254Cf, which has a particularly high impact on the brightness of electromagnetic transients associated with mergers on the order of 15 to 250 days. This is due to the anomalously long half-life of this isotope and the e ciency of ssion thermalization compared to other nuclear channels. We estimate the ssion fragment yield of this nucleus and outline the astrophysical conditions under which 254Cf has the greatest impact to the light curve. Future observations in the middle-IR which are bright during this regime could indicate the production of actinide nucleosynthesis.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [7]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [8]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [9]
  1. Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (United States). Dept. of Chemistry
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States)
  4. Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States); Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), East Lansing, MI (United States). Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE)
  5. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), East Lansing, MI (United States). Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE)
  6. Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), East Lansing, MI (United States). Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE); Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC (United States). Dept. of Chemistry
  7. Univ. of Notre Dame, IN (United States). Dept. of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences; Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), East Lansing, MI (United States). Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE)
  8. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Joint Inst. for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), East Lansing, MI (United States). Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE); Southern Utah Univ., Cedar City, UT (United States)
  9. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States). Columbia Astrophysics Lab.
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1484657
Report Number(s):
[LA-UR-18-25559]
[Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213]
Grant/Contract Number:  
[89233218CNA000001]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 863; Journal Issue: 2]; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; neutron stars; mergers; nucleosynthesis; californium; actinides

Citation Formats

Zhu, Y., Wollaeger, R. T., Vassh, N., Surman, R., Sprouse, T. M., Mumpower, M. R., Möller, P., McLaughlin, G. C., Korobkin, O., Kawano, T., Jaffke, P. J., Holmbeck, E. M., Fryer, C. L., Even, W. P., Couture, A. J., and Barnes, J. Californium-254 and Kilonova Light Curves. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aad5de.
Zhu, Y., Wollaeger, R. T., Vassh, N., Surman, R., Sprouse, T. M., Mumpower, M. R., Möller, P., McLaughlin, G. C., Korobkin, O., Kawano, T., Jaffke, P. J., Holmbeck, E. M., Fryer, C. L., Even, W. P., Couture, A. J., & Barnes, J. Californium-254 and Kilonova Light Curves. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aad5de.
Zhu, Y., Wollaeger, R. T., Vassh, N., Surman, R., Sprouse, T. M., Mumpower, M. R., Möller, P., McLaughlin, G. C., Korobkin, O., Kawano, T., Jaffke, P. J., Holmbeck, E. M., Fryer, C. L., Even, W. P., Couture, A. J., and Barnes, J. Tue . "Californium-254 and Kilonova Light Curves". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aad5de. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1484657.
@article{osti_1484657,
title = {Californium-254 and Kilonova Light Curves},
author = {Zhu, Y. and Wollaeger, R. T. and Vassh, N. and Surman, R. and Sprouse, T. M. and Mumpower, M. R. and Möller, P. and McLaughlin, G. C. and Korobkin, O. and Kawano, T. and Jaffke, P. J. and Holmbeck, E. M. and Fryer, C. L. and Even, W. P. and Couture, A. J. and Barnes, J.},
abstractNote = {Neutron star mergers o er unique conditions for the creation of the heavy elements and additionally provide a testbed for our understanding of this synthesis known as the r-process. We have performed dynamical nucleosynthesis calculations and identi ed a single isotope, 254Cf, which has a particularly high impact on the brightness of electromagnetic transients associated with mergers on the order of 15 to 250 days. This is due to the anomalously long half-life of this isotope and the e ciency of ssion thermalization compared to other nuclear channels. We estimate the ssion fragment yield of this nucleus and outline the astrophysical conditions under which 254Cf has the greatest impact to the light curve. Future observations in the middle-IR which are bright during this regime could indicate the production of actinide nucleosynthesis.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/aad5de},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal. Letters},
number = [2],
volume = [863],
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 11 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

GW170817: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Neutron Star Inspiral
journal, October 2017


The NUBASE2016 evaluation of nuclear properties
journal, March 2017


Supernovae and Californium 254
journal, August 1956

  • Baade, W.; Burbidge, G. R.; Hoyle, F.
  • Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Vol. 68
  • DOI: 10.1086/126941

Radioactivity and Thermalization in the Ejecta of Compact Object Mergers and Their Impact on Kilonova Light Curves
journal, September 2016


The alpha decay of 253Cf and 254Cf
journal, December 1968


Mass and Energy Distributions in the Spontaneous Fission of Some Heavy Isotopes
journal, September 1963

  • Brandt, Reinhard; Thompson, Stanley G.; Gatti, Raymond C.
  • Physical Review, Vol. 131, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1103/PhysRev.131.2617

Simultaneous investigation of fission fragments and neutrons in 252Cf (SF)
journal, December 1988


Transplutonium Elements in Thermonuclear Test Debris
journal, April 1956


Dense plasma temperature equilibration in the binary collision approximation
journal, March 2002


Fission properties of superheavy nuclei for r -process calculations
journal, March 2018

  • Giuliani, Samuel A.; Martínez-Pinedo, Gabriel; Robledo, Luis M.
  • Physical Review C, Vol. 97, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.97.034323

Prompt neutron multiplicity in correlation with fragments from spontaneous fission of Cf 252
journal, December 2014


Towards a prediction of fission cross sections on the basis of microscopic nuclear inputs
journal, February 2009


Investigation of the far asymmetric region in 252Cf(sf)
journal, May 1997


Radioactive decay products in neutron star merger ejecta: heating efficiency and γ-ray emission
journal, March 2016

  • Hotokezaka, K.; Wanajo, S.; Tanaka, M.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 459, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw404

Hauser-Feshbach fission fragment de-excitation with calculated macroscopic-microscopic mass yields
journal, March 2018


Decay Properties and Stability of Heaviest Elements
journal, February 2012

  • Karpov, A. V.; Zagrebaev, V. I.; Martinez Palenzuela, Y.
  • International Journal of Modern Physics E, Vol. 21, Issue 02
  • DOI: 10.1142/S0218301312500139

OPACITIES AND SPECTRA OF THE r -PROCESS EJECTA FROM NEUTRON STAR MERGERS
journal, August 2013


Origin of the heavy elements in binary neutron-star mergers from a gravitational-wave event
journal, October 2017

  • Kasen, Daniel; Metzger, Brian; Barnes, Jennifer
  • Nature, Vol. 551, Issue 7678
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature24453

Illuminating gravitational waves: A concordant picture of photons from a neutron star merger
journal, October 2017


R-process nucleosynthesis and nuclei far from the region of β-stability
journal, March 1975


Black-hole-neutron-star collisions
journal, September 1974

  • Lattimer, J. M.; Schramm, D. N.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 192
  • DOI: 10.1086/181612

Transient Events from Neutron Star Mergers
journal, November 1998

  • Li, Li-Xin; Paczyński, Bohdan
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 507, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/311680

Kilonovae
journal, May 2017


Nuclear properties for astrophysical and radioactive-ion-beam applications (II)
journal, January 2019


Fission barriers at the end of the chart of the nuclides
journal, February 2015


Nuclear ground-state masses and deformations: FRDM(2012)
journal, May 2016


Neutron- γ competition for β -delayed neutron emission
journal, December 2016


Systematics of charge distribution studies in low-energy fission of actinides
journal, January 1997


Have superheavy elements been produced in nature?
journal, September 2012

  • Petermann, I.; Langanke, K.; Martínez-Pinedo, G.
  • The European Physical Journal A, Vol. 48, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1140/epja/i2012-12122-6

Spontaneous fission half lives of 254Cf, 255Fm, and 250Cf
journal, September 1963


The Physics of Type Ia Supernova Light Curves. I. Analytic Results and Time Dependence
journal, February 2000

  • Pinto, Philip A.; Eastman, Ronald G.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 530, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/308376

Brownian Shape Motion on Five-Dimensional Potential-Energy Surfaces:Nuclear Fission-Fragment Mass Distributions
journal, March 2011


Detectability of compact binary merger macronovae
journal, April 2017


Nucleosynthesis in the Outflow from Gamma‐Ray Burst Accretion Disks
journal, June 2006

  • Surman, R.; McLaughlin, G. C.; Hix, W. R.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 643, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/501116

Properties of Kilonovae from Dynamical and Post-merger Ejecta of Neutron Star Mergers
journal, January 2018

  • Tanaka, Masaomi; Kato, Daiji; Gaigalas, Gediminas
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 852, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aaa0cb

The Emergence of a Lanthanide-rich Kilonova Following the Merger of Two Neutron Stars
journal, October 2017

  • Tanvir, N. R.; Levan, A. J.; González-Fernández, C.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 848, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa90b6

The X-ray counterpart to the gravitational-wave event GW170817
journal, October 2017


PRODUCTION OF ALL THE r -PROCESS NUCLIDES IN THE DYNAMICAL EJECTA OF NEUTRON STAR MERGERS
journal, June 2014


The AME2016 atomic mass evaluation (II). Tables, graphs and references
journal, March 2017


Impact of ejecta morphology and composition on the electromagnetic signatures of neutron star mergers
journal, April 2018

  • Wollaeger, Ryan T.; Korobkin, Oleg; Fontes, Christopher J.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 478, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty1018

Systematical law of spontaneous fission half-lives of heavy nuclei
journal, January 2005


Production of heavy and superheavy neutron-rich nuclei in neutron capture processes
journal, October 2011


Matter-neutrino resonance transitions above a neutron star merger remnant
journal, November 2016


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    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