About this Research Topic
Laboratory plasmas can become complementary environments to investigate nuclear decays and other plasma properties of nuclear and astrophysical relevance, impacting s- and r-process nucleosynthesis networks.
In this Research Topic we wish to discuss the problem of plasma, atomic and nuclear phenomena of fundamental and astrophysical interest, to be investigated by a novel and interdisciplinary research approach. In particular, the possibility to operate with magnetohydrodynamically stable plasmas confined in compact traps, and there monitored by multidiagnostics systems measuring online plasma density and temperature, enables the study of nuclear decays of both fundamental and astrophysical relevance. β-radioisotopes have been probed in the past under extreme conditions of temperature (1000 °K) and Pressure (2000 atm), measuring almost negligible variations in the decay constant (<0.05%), and/or changing the surrounding chemical environment (lattice structure and electron affinity): e.g. an E.C. lifetime of 7Be has been observed to vary by around 3.5%.
With the advent of Storage Rings, a breakthrough was reached, observing almost bare nuclei decays, such as 187Re75+ ions: in this case, lifetime collapsed of 9 orders of magnitude!
Controlled plasmas now open the perspective to investigate β-decay properties of radioactive nuclei involved in stellar nucleosynthesis directly in an environment emulating some astrophysical ionic charge state distributions: this can shed light in still debated puzzling issues concerning BBN, s-processing, CosmoChronometers, Early Solar System formation, etc.
At the same time, these plasmas are suited for opacity measurements that are relevant for Kilonovae scenarios, to support and address the study of r-process elemental abundances hours or days after the event.
The attractive opportunities require the development of suitable theoretical and experimental procedures and methodologies that will be the main topic of this Research Topic, to be framed and investigated in light of a more general approach considering the laboratory plasmas as tools for making new (and/or complementary to other ones) experiments.
Authors are welcomed to contribute to an interdisciplinary field involving microwave generated plasma physics, technology, diagnostics, modeling; nuclear physics and physics of β-decays; nuclear astrophysics and observational astrophysics dealing with stellar nucleosynthesis issues.
We would organize the Research Topic according to the following sub-topics:
1. Physics and Technology of plasma traps for fundamental studies: the PANDORA* project;
2. β-decay detection in plasmas: instruments and methods;
3. Nuclear and Atomic Physics of β-decays in plasmas;
4. Astrophysics Perspectives and Impact: nucleosynthesis of elements in the Universe
Authors are encouraged to submit contributions inherent to the single subtopics, or a merging of them, concerning the overall frame (the nuclear physics problem with fundamental and astrophysical implications) or specific issues and advances in the modelling, design, operations and diagnostics of the plasma based setup.
Contributions discussing complementary approaches and further physics perspectives are also warmly welcomed.
*PANDORA is a project and collaboration supported by INFN-Italy to design, realize and operate a new plasma-based facility for nuclear-decay studies.
Keywords: ECR plasma, nuclear β-decay, nucleosinthesis, plasma diagnostics, nuclear astrophysics, s-process, r-process, plasma opacity, plasma modeling
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.