Volume 3, 2020
Gravitational waves and the advent of multi-messenger astronomy
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Physics - Applied Physics|
|Published online||20 October 2020|
The origin of the elements and other implications of gravitational wave detection for nuclear physics
IJCLab-IN2P3/CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, 91405 Orsay, France
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 28 August 2020
The neutron-star collision revealed by the event GW170817 gave us a first glimpse of a possible birthplace of most of our heavy elements. The multi-messenger nature of this historical event combined gravitational waves, a gamma-ray burst and optical astronomy of a “kilonova”, bringing the first observations of rapid neutron capture (r process) nucleosynthesis after 60 years of speculation. Modeling the r process requires a prodigious amount of nuclear-physics ingredients: practically all the quantum state and interaction properties of virtually all neutron-rich nuclides, many of which may never be produced in the laboratory! Another essential contribution of nuclear physics to neutron stars (and their eventual coalescence) is the equation of state (EoS) that defines their structure and composition. The EoS, combined with the knowledge of nuclear binding energies, determines the elemental profile of the outer crust of a neutron star and the relationship between its radius and mass. In addition, the EoS determines the form of the gravitational wave signal. This article combines a tutorial presentation and bibliography with recent results that link nuclear mass spectrometry to gravitational waves via neutron stars.
Key words: Gravitational waves / Nuclear binding energy / Nuclear equation of state / r-process nucleosynthesis / Chemical elements
© D. Lunney, Published by EDP Sciences, 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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