MSc Thesis Presentation: Neutron capture rates for strongly interacting neutrons

Date and Time


MACN 318


MSc Candidate

Bryn Knight


At the low temperature and high density conditions of a neutron star crust, neutrons are degenerate. In this work, we study the effect of this degeneracy on neutron capture rates by several rp-process ashes and neutron-rich nuclei within accreting neutron stars. We consider strongly interacting asymmetric nuclear matter and its effect on the neutron chemical potential and therefore on the capture rates. We then investigate variations in the mass model, optical potential and gamma strength functions used to calculate the cross section and their effects on the reaction rate in the context of degenerate neutron capture. Lastly, we generalize the reaction rate behavior of exothermic and endothermic neutron capture reactions when compared to their Maxwellian counterparts. Our results provide an insight to abundances' evolution of rp-process ashes and energy generation in the neutron star crust.

Examination Committee 

  • Dr. Elisabeth Nicol, Chair
  • Dr. Liliana Caballero, Advisor
  • Dr. Alexandros Gezerlis
  • Dr. Dennis Muecher

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