Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structure of carbon's 'Hoyle state' revealed

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
A researcher has taken a "snapshot" of the way particles combine to form carbon-12, the element that makes all life on Earth possible. And the picture looks like a bent arm.

Alpha clusters in the Carbon-12 nucleus forming a "bent arm" shape.
Credit: Image courtesy of North Carolina State University

A North Carolina State University researcher has taken a "snapshot" of the way particles combine to form carbon-12, the element that makes all life on Earth possible. And the picture looks like a bent arm.

Related Articles


Carbon-12 can only exist when three alpha particles, or helium-4 nuclei, combine in a very specific way. This combination is known as the Hoyle state. NC State physicist Dean Lee and German colleagues Evgeny Epelbaum, Hermann Krebs and Ulf-G. Meissner had previously confirmed the existence of the Hoyle state using a numerical lattice that allowed the researchers to simulate how the protons and neutrons interact. When the researchers ran their simulations on the lattice, the Hoyle state appeared together with other observed states of carbon-12, proving the theory correct from first principles.

But they also wanted to find out how the nucleons (the protons and neutrons inside the nucleus of an atom) were arranged inside the nucleus of carbon-12. This would enable them to "see" the structure of the Hoyle state. Using the same lattice, the researchers, along with collaborator Timo Laehde, found that carbon-12's six protons and six neutrons formed three "alpha clusters" of four nucleons each. At low energy, the alpha clusters tended to clump together in a compact triangular formation. But for the Hoyle state, which is an excited energy state, the three alpha clusters combined in a "bent arm" formation.

The researchers' findings will appear this month in Physical Review Letters.

"It's interesting that a straight chain seems not to be the preferred configuration for the Hoyle state," Lee says. "A bend in the chain seems necessary. This work leads us to the question of what other nuclei have such alpha cluster shapes. These would be rather exotic structures in nuclear physics and open some really interesting questions regarding shape and stability. For example, can we have longer chains of alpha clusters? We are investigating these possibilities."

The work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy; the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren, and Bundesministerium fuer Bildung und Forschung in Germany; European Union HadronPhysics3 Project and the European Research Council; and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. Computational resources were provided by the Juelich Supercomputing Center. The NC State Department of Physics is part of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Evgeny Epelbaum, Hermann Krebs, Timo Lδhde, Dean Lee, Ulf-G. Meiίner. Structure and Rotations of the Hoyle State. Physical Review Letters, 2012 (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Structure of carbon's 'Hoyle state' revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124715.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2012, December 10). Structure of carbon's 'Hoyle state' revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124715.htm
North Carolina State University. "Structure of carbon's 'Hoyle state' revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124715.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Two Stunt Pilots Perform Incredibly Close Flyby

Two Stunt Pilots Perform Incredibly Close Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 29, 2015) — Two pilots from &apos;Escuadrilla Argentina de Acrobacia Aιrea&apos; perform an incredibly low altitude flyby stunt during a recent show exhibition in Argentina. Check it out! Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

Buzz60 (Jan. 28, 2015) — A team of college students design and build a pair of goggles that will obscure any corporate branding from your field of vision. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amplifying Tiny Movements to Visualize the Invisible

Amplifying Tiny Movements to Visualize the Invisible

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) — A new video recording method that amplifies seemingly invisible motion could lead to a touch-free vital signs monitor, and offer a new tool for engineers to gauge stresses on bridges and tunnels in real time. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing's Profit Soars

Boeing's Profit Soars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) — Boeing delivered more commercial planes, especially 737s and 787s, fueling profit. But it issued a mixed outlook. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins