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Hadrons and Nuclei

EPJ A Highlight - Prompt x-rays emitted in neutron-induced fission help unveil the evolution of fission fragment charge yields as a function of incident neutron energy

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Charge distribution determined from the x-ray yield measurements (symbols) for different incident neutron intervals: threshold to 6MeV ~3MeV, from 6 to 11MeV ~8MeV, from 11 to 20MeV ~14MeV, from 20 to 50MeV ~32MeV and from 50to 400MeV ~180MeV. For more detail see text.

Nuclear fission is accompanied by the prompt emission of neutrons, gamma rays and x-rays. It has been known since the sixties that fission prompt x-rays originate essentially as a consequence of the internal conversions occurring in the prompt gamma deexcitation cascades of fission fragments.

This work presents for the first time a measurement of the prompt fission x-ray yields in 238U(n,f) for average incident neutron energies ranging from 3 to 200 MeV. These results provide new information on fission fragment deexcitation and allow testing the current knowledge of fission fragment nuclear structure. These results provide also a means to investigate the evolution, as a function of incident neutron energy, of fission fragment charge yields and elemental prompt x-ray emission probabilities.

Fission fragment charge distributions are derived from the measured x-ray yields using x-ray emission probabilities per fragment obtained in an earlier work on low energy fission. The results are found to be in a remarkable agreement with the Wahl phenomenological systematics for fission product yields, as well as with the more sophisticated GEF fission model. This agreement shows that the variation of x-ray emission probabilities remains moderate over a wide range of incident neutron energies. More detailed comparisons demonstrate that x-ray emission evolution with increasing incident neutron energy tends to be dominated by the transition towards lighter fragments which on average are closer to closed-shell nuclei and are thus less subject to internal conversion.

Measurement of prompt x-rays in 238U(n,f) from threshold to 400 MeV, T. Granier, R.O. Nelson, T. Ethvignot, M. Devlin, N. Fotiades, P.E. Garrett, and W. Younes (2013), European Physical Journal A 49:114, DOI 10.1140/epja/i2013-13114-8

Editors-in-Chief
David Blaschke, Thomas Duguet and Maria Jose Garcia Borge
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Harald W. Grießhammer, The George Washington University, Washington DC, USA

ISSN (Electronic Edition): 1434-601X

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