Europium, Samarium, And Neodymium Isotopic Fractions In Metal-Poor Stars

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Roederer, Ian U.
Lawler, James E.
Sneden, Christopher
Cowan, John J.
Sobeck, Jennifer S.
Pilachowski, Catherine A.

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We have derived isotopic fractions of europium, samarium, and neodymium in two metal-poor giants with differing neutron-capture nucleosynthetic histories. These isotopic fractions were measured from new high-resolution (R similar to 120; 000), high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N similar to 160-1000) spectra obtained with the 2d-coude spectrograph of McDonald Observatory's 2.7m Smith telescope. Synthetic spectra were generated using recent high-precision laboratory measurements of hyperfine and isotopic subcomponents of several transitions of these elements and matched quantitatively to the observed spectra. We interpret our isotopic fractions by the nucleosynthesis predictions of the stellar model, which reproduces s-process nucleosynthesis from the physical conditions expected in low-mass, thermally pulsing stars on the AGB, and the classical method, which approximates s-process nucleosynthesis by a steady neutron flux impinging on Fe-peak seed nuclei. Our Eu isotopic fraction in HD 175305 is consistent with an r-process origin by the classical method and is consistent with either an r- or an s-process origin by the stellar model. Our Sm isotopic fraction in HD 175305 suggests a predominantly r- process origin, and our Sm isotopic fraction in HD 196944 is consistent with an s-process origin. The Nd isotopic fractions, while consistent with either r-process or s-process origins, have very little ability to distinguish between any physical values for the isotopic fraction in either star. This study for the first time extends the n-capture origin of multiple rare earths in metal-poor stars from elemental abundances to the isotopic level, strengthening the r-process interpretation for HD 175305 and the s-process interpretation for HD 196944.



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Roederer, Ian U., James E. Lawler, Christopher Sneden, John J. Cowan, Jennifer S. Sobeck, and Catherine A. Pilachowski. "Europium, Samarium, and Neodymium Isotopic Fractions in Metal-Poor Stars." The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 675, No. 1 (Mar., 2008): 723.