On the measurement of the 13C(α, n)16O S-factor at negative energies and its influence on the s-process

M. La Cognata, C. Spitaleri, O. Trippella, G. G. Kiss, G. V. Rogachev, A. M. Mukhamedzhanov, M. Avila, G. L. Guardo, E. Koshchiy, A. Kuchera, L. Lamia, S. M.R. Puglia, S. Romano, D. Santiago, R. Spartà

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The 13C(α, n)16O reaction is the neutron source for the main component of the s-process, responsible for the production of most of the nuclei in the mass range 90 ≲ A ≲ 208. This reaction takes place inside the helium-burning shell of asymptotic giant branch stars, at temperatures ≲ 108 K, corresponding to an energy interval where the 13C(α, n)16O reaction is effective in the range of 140-230 keV. In this regime, the astrophysical S(E)-factor is dominated by the -3 keV sub-threshold resonance due to the 6.356 MeV level in 17O, giving rise to a steep increase in the S-factor. Its contribution is still controversial as extrapolations, e.g., through the R-matrix and indirect techniques such as the asymptotic normalization coefficient (ANC), yield inconsistent results. The discrepancy amounts to a factor of three or more precisely at astrophysical energies. To provide a more accurate S-factor at these energies, we have applied the Trojan horse method (THM) to the 13C(6Li, n 16O)d quasi-free reaction. The ANC for the 6.356 MeV level has been deduced through the THM as well as the n-partial width, allowing us to attain unprecedented accuracy for the 13C(α, n)16O astrophysical factor. A larger ANC for the 6.356 MeV level is measured with respect to the ones in the literature, fm-1, yet in agreement with the preliminary result given in our preceding letter, indicating an increase of the 13C(α, n) 16O reaction rate below about 8 × 107 K if compared with the recommended values. At ∼108 K, our reaction rate agrees with most of the results in the literature and the accuracy is greatly enhanced thanks to this innovative approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2013


  • abundances
  • nuclear reactions
  • nucleosynthesis
  • stars: AGB and post-AGB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    La Cognata, M., Spitaleri, C., Trippella, O., Kiss, G. G., Rogachev, G. V., Mukhamedzhanov, A. M., Avila, M., Guardo, G. L., Koshchiy, E., Kuchera, A., Lamia, L., Puglia, S. M. R., Romano, S., Santiago, D., & Spartà, R. (2013). On the measurement of the 13C(α, n)16O S-factor at negative energies and its influence on the s-process. Astrophysical Journal, 777(2), [143]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/777/2/143