Tin may seem like the most unassuming of elements, but experiments are yielding surprising properties in extremely short-lived isotopes near tin-100’s “doubly magic” nucleus.

ORNL_Holified-nightTin may seem like the most unassuming of elements, but experiments performed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are yielding surprising properties in extremely short-lived isotopes near tin-100’s “doubly magic” nucleus.

Experiments performed with the exotic nucleus tin-101, which has a single neutron orbiting tin-100’s closed shell of 50 protons and 50 neutrons, indicate an unexpected reversal in the ordering of lowest states in the nucleus. The finding appears to violate a standard scenario offered by the nuclear shell model that has been the cornerstone for understanding the atomic nucleus for more than half a century.

The international team of experimentalists and theorists was led by Iain G. Darby of the University of Tennessee (UT), who is now in Belgium, and Robert Grzywacz, a physics professor at UT and a former Wigner Fellow at ORNL. The experiment, performed at ORNL’s Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility, found that the ground states of orbiting neutrons unexpectedly swap when three neutrons are added to the closed-shell tin-100 nucleus.

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Source: News Release | Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Photo: Oak Ridge National Laboratory —- The unique capabilities of the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility enabled researchers to discover surprising behavior in tin-101.