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Introduction to shell structure in exotic nuclei

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The nuclear shell model is a benchmark for the description of the structure of atomic nuclei. The magic numbers associated with closed shells have long been assumed to be valid across the whole nuclear chart. Investigations in recent years of nuclei far away from nuclear stability at facilities for radioactive ion beams have revealed that the magic numbers may change locally in those exotic nuclei leading to the disappearance of classic shell gaps and the appearance of new magic numbers. These changes in shell structure also have important implications for the synthesis of heavy elements in stars and stellar explosions. In this review a brief overview of the basics of the nuclear shell model will be given together with a summary of recent theoretical and experimental activities investigating these changes in the nuclear shell structure.

Keywords: exotic nuclei; magic numbers; nuclear reactions; nuclear shell model; nuclear spectroscopy; nuclear structure; radioactive beam facilities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Physik Department E12, Technische Universitat Munchen, Garching, Germany

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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