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First accurate normalization of the $$beta$$-delayed $$alpha$$ decay of $$^{16}$$N and implications for the $$^{12}$$C($$alpha$$,$$gamma$$)$$^{16}$$O astrophysical reaction rate

Kirsebom, O. S.*; Tengblad, O.*; Andreyev, A. N.; 41 of others*

The $$^{12}$$C($$alpha$$,$$gamma$$)$$^{16}$$O reaction plays a central role in astrophysics, but its cross section at energies relevant for astrophysical applications is only poorly constrained by laboratory data. The reduced $$alpha$$ width, $$gamma_{rm 11}$$, of the bound 1$$^{-}$$ level in $$^{16}$$O is particularly important to determine the cross section. The magnitude of $$gamma_{11}$$ is determined via sub-Coulomb $$alpha$$-transfer reactions or the $$beta$$-delayed $$alpha$$ decay of $$^{16}$$N, but the latter approach is presently hampered by the lack of sufficiently precise data on the $$beta$$-decay branching ratios. Here we report improved branching ratios for the bound 1$$^{-}$$ level ($$b_{beta,11}$$) and for $$beta$$-delayed $$alpha$$ emission ($$b_{beta alpha}$$). Our value for $$b_{beta alpha}$$ is 33 $$%$$ larger than previously held, leading to a substantial increase in $$gamma_{11}$$. Our revised value for $$gamma_{11}$$ is in good agreement with the value obtained in $$alpha$$-transfer studies and the weighted average of the two gives a robust and precise determination of $$gamma_{11}$$, which provides significantly improved constraints on the $$^{12}$$C($$alpha$$,$$gamma$$)$$^{16}$$O cross section in the energy range relevant to hydro static He burning.

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Category:Physics, Multidisciplinary

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