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Contrasting fission potential-energy structure of actinides and mercury isotopes

Ichikawa, Takatoshi*; Iwamoto, Akira; M$"o$ller, P.*; Sierk, A. J.*

Fission-fragment mass distributions are asymmetric in fission of typical actinide nuclei for nucelon number $$A$$ in the range $$228 le A le 258$$ and proton number $$Z$$ in the range $$90 le 100$$. For somewhat lighter systems it has been observed that fission mass distributions are usually symmetric. However, a recent experiment showed that fission of $$^{198}$$Hg following electron capture on $$^{180}$$HI is asymmetric. An earlier experiment has shown fission of $$^{198}$$Hg and nearby nuclei is symmetric, but with hints of asymmetric yield distributions up to about 10 MeV above the saddle-point energy. We calculate potential-energy surfaces for a typical actinide nucleus and for 12 even isotopes in the range $$^{178}$$Hg-$$^{200}$$Hg, demonstrating the radical differences between actinide and mervury potential surfaces. We discuss these differences and how the changing potential-energy structure along the mercury isotope chain affects the observed (a)symmetry of the fission fragments. We show that the mechanism of asymmetric fission is very different in proton-rich mercury isotopes compared to the actinide region.

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Category:Physics, Nuclear

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