Shedding Light on the Nuclear Many-Body Problem
The fundamental understanding of the nuclear many-body problem plays a central role in describing the universe. It is an essential bridge which connects our knowledge of the fundamental forces of nature with the emergence of macroscopic phenomena, from the very origin of the elements in the universe to the formation of astrophysical objects.
The atomic nucleus exhibits exceptional characteristics that illustrate the beauty and intrigue of strongly correlated quantum systems. The formation of shell-structures, the clustering of nucleons, and the emergence of collective phenomena are just a few stunning examples that exemplify the richness and uniqueness of the nuclear many-body problem. How do these distinct nuclear phenomena emerge from the microscopic interactions of their fundamental constituents? How does this connect with the underlying theory of the strong force, quantum chromodynamics (QCD)? And how do the properties of nuclei impact our understanding of nuclear matter far from equilibrium? These are some of the major questions that motivate current theoretical and experimental nuclear physics research [1-4]. In order to provide direct answers to these questions, our group is focused on the development of highly sensitive and precise laser spectroscopy techniques for the study of nuclei at the extreme of stability [5-10]. By performing isotope shift and hyperfine structure measurements, fundamental properties of the atomic nucleus such as spins, electromagnetic moments, and charge radii, can be obtained . As nuclei far away from stability do not occur naturally and only live for a fraction of a second, they have to be produced artificially and studied at specialized facilities such as FRIB (US), TRIUMF (Canada), RIKEN (Japan) and ISOLDE, CERN (Switzerland).
Observables such as the nuclear charge radius have shown to be particularly sensitive to the details of the nuclear force [5, 12,13]. Remarkably, the charge radii of finite nuclei can also provide direct constraints to the properties of nuclear matter such as the radii of neutron stars and parameters of the equation of state [13,14]. While complementary observables such as nuclear electromagnetic moments have been shown to be important to understand the role of electro-weak processes in nuclei [15,16].
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