Settling the half-life of Fe 60: Fundamental for a versatile astrophysical chronometer

A. Wallner, M. Bichler, K. Buczak, R. Dressler, L. K. Fifield, D. Schumann, J. H. Sterba, S. G. Tims, G. Wallner, W. Kutschera

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    54 Citations (Scopus)


    In order to resolve a recent discrepancy in the half-life of Fe60, we performed an independent measurement with a new method that determines the Fe60 content of a material relative to Fe55 (t1/2=2.744yr) with accelerator mass spectrometry. Our result of (2.50±0.12)×106yr clearly favors the recently reported value (2.62±0.04)×106yr, and rules out the older result of (1.49±0.27)×106yr. The present weighted mean half-life value of (2.60±0.05)×106yr substantially improves the reliability as an important chronometer for astrophysical applications in the million-year time range. This includes its use as a sensitive probe for studying recent chemical evolution of our Galaxy, the formation of the early Solar System, nucleosynthesis processes in massive stars, and as an indicator of a recent nearby supernova.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number041101
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2015


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