Atomic inputs for probing the r-process in kilonovae
PT-CERN Call 2022/1
FCUL (Universidade de Lisboa)
Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas
In this proposal we intend to make a relevant contribution to the questions "Where are the heaviest elements in nature produced? And can we identify an astrophysical signature of their production?". Recent studies of the evolution of light curves of kilonovae, and the observation of a kilonova electromagnetic transient associated with the gravitational wave signal GW170817 point to the production of r-process elements in neutron-star mergers. In order to study such electromagnetic signals it is necessary to combine an accurate description of atomic parameters with sophisticated astrophysical simulations. However, atomic data regarding r-process ions, particularly lanthanide and actinide ions, are scarce. For that reason, in this work level energies, excitation/ionization cross-sections and oscillator strengths between individual levels will be calculated for all neutral and charge state lanthanide and actinide ions relevant in the density and temperature range found in the ejecta expansion in a kilonova. For this FAC and MCDFGME codes will be used, as they represent today the state of the art in atomic structure calculations. The results will serve as input for modeling the luminosity curves of kilonovas beyond the local thermal equilibrium (LTE) approximation. The PhD. research activities will be developed at LIP (Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas), Lisbon, Portugal and at GSI (Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research), Darmstadt, Germany.