Regular Article – Theoretical Physics
Nuclear clusters as the first stepping stones for the chemical evolution of the universe
Department of Physics, The Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, University of Notre Dame, 46556, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
2 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Victoria, V8W 2Y2, Victoria, BC, Canada
Accepted: 23 December 2020
Published online: 13 January 2021
It is a well-established fact that the generation of the heavy elements occurred in stars—the Cauldrons of the Cosmos—via multiple complex nuclear reaction processes during stellar life and death. This paper will address the question of the first step, the formation of heavier elements such as carbon and oxygen from the primordial elemental abundance distribution in first stars. This nucleosynthesis can be facilitated by nuclear clustering of primordial isotopes in hot and highly convective first stars, provided that a helium rich or hydrogen depleted environment is available. The paper will summarize the associated nuclear reactions and the nucleosynthesis paths linking He to C. This will be based on an analysis of new experimental data for several of the anticipated nuclear reactions, and the role they might play at different temperature and density conditions in first star matter.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021