Dr. Adriana Banu is one of the 2014 recipients of the Single-Investigator Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement to support her nuclear astrophysics research project entitled "Determination of Key Astrophysical Photonuclear Reaction Cross Section Towards Understanding the Origin of p-Nuclei". Several undergraduates from the Physics and Astronomy Department at JMU are heavily involved in the project!!!
Below is the abstract of the project:
The proposed research aims to contribute to enhancing the current state
of fundamental knowledge on a forefront topic in nuclear astrophysics - the nucleosynthesis
beyond iron of the rarest stable isotopes (the origin of the p-nuclei). More
specifically, it is focused on constraining the origin of the p-nuclei through
nuclear physics by investigating, as a first step, the cross section measurement of the 94Mo(g,n)93Mo
reaction, a key photonuclear reaction for understanding the astrophysical
p-process (the mechanism responsible for the origin of the p-nuclei). The
experimentally unknown reaction cross section is proposed to be studied close
to and above the neutron threshold with quasi-monochromatic photon beams at
Duke University's High Intensity Gamma-ray Source (HIgS)
facility, which is currently the most intense accelerator-driven g-ray source in the world.
Total cross section measurements of the 94Mo(g,n)93Mo
reaction with an energy threshold at 9.7 MeV will be performed at beam energies
starting from above the neutron thresholds up to around 13 MeV in steps of 100
- 150 keV. A highly enriched target sample of the 94Mo isotope is
required. Neutrons from the (g,n) reaction will be
detected using an assembly of 4pi 3He
proportional counters developed at Los Alamos National Laboratories and
presently available at HIgS-Triangle University
Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL).