Charge radii of exotic potassium isotopes challenge nuclear theory and the magic character of $N = 32$

Koszorús, Á, Yang, XF, Jiang, WG, Novario, SJ, Bai, SW, Billowes, J, Binnersley, CL, Bissell, ML, Cocolios, TE, Cooper, BS
et al (show 19 more authors) (2021) Charge radii of exotic potassium isotopes challenge nuclear theory and the magic character of $N = 32$. Nature Physics.

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Nuclear charge radii are sensitive probes of different aspects of the nucleon-nucleon interaction and the bulk properties of nuclear matter; thus, they provide a stringent test and challenge for nuclear theory. The calcium region has been of particular interest, as experimental evidence has suggested a new magic number at $N = 32$ [1-3], while the unexpectedly large increases in the charge radii [4,5] open new questions about the evolution of nuclear size in neutron-rich systems. By combining the collinear resonance ionization spectroscopy method with $\beta$-decay detection, we were able to extend the charge radii measurement of potassium ($Z =19$) isotopes up to the exotic $^{52}$K ($t_{1/2}$ = 110 ms), produced in minute quantities. Our work provides the first charge radii measurement beyond $N = 32$ in the region, revealing no signature of the magic character at this neutron number. The results are interpreted with two state-of-the-art nuclear theories. For the first time, a long sequence of isotopes could be calculated with coupled-cluster calculations based on newly developed nuclear interactions. The strong increase in the charge radii beyond $N = 28$ is not well captured by these calculations, but is well reproduced by Fayans nuclear density functional theory, which, however, overestimates the odd-even staggering effect. These findings highlight our limited understanding on the nuclear size of neutron-rich systems, and expose pressing problems that are present in some of the best current models of nuclear theory.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: submitted version; revision accepted in Nature Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords: nucl-ex, nucl-ex, nucl-th, physics.atom-ph
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2021 10:45
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2021 09:49
DOI: 10.1038/s41567-020-01136-5
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