Be 7 (n,p) Li 7 Reaction and the Cosmological Lithium Problem: Measurement of the Cross Section in a Wide Energy Range at n-TOF at CERN

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    Abstract

    We report on the measurement of the Be7(n,p)Li7 cross section from thermal to approximately 325 keV neutron energy, performed in the high-flux experimental area (EAR2) of the n-TOF facility at CERN. This reaction plays a key role in the lithium yield of the big bang nucleosynthesis (BBN) for standard cosmology. The only two previous time-of-flight measurements performed on this reaction did not cover the energy window of interest for BBN, and they showed a large discrepancy between each other. The measurement was performed with a Si telescope and a high-purity sample produced by implantation of a Be7 ion beam at the ISOLDE facility at CERN. While a significantly higher cross section is found at low energy, relative to current evaluations, in the region of BBN interest, the present results are consistent with the values inferred from the time-reversal Li7(p,n)Be7 reaction, thus yielding only a relatively minor improvement on the so-called cosmological lithium problem. The relevance of these results on the near-threshold neutron production in the p+Li7 reaction is also discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number042701
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Volume121
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2018

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