Research Topic

The Future of Nuclear Structure: Challenges and Opportunities in the Microscopic Description of Nuclei

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The past two decades have been witness to tremendous progress in the microscopic description of nuclei. With this approach, complex nuclear systems are described in terms of nucleons interacting via realistic two- and three-body forces that are constrained to accurately reproduce a large number of data from ...

The past two decades have been witness to tremendous progress in the microscopic description of nuclei. With this approach, complex nuclear systems are described in terms of nucleons interacting via realistic two- and three-body forces that are constrained to accurately reproduce a large number of data from few-body nuclei. The goal is to gain a deep understanding of the way these complex nuclear many-body systems, along with their dynamics and properties, emerge from internucleon correlations induced by the strong interaction, and to deliver theoretical predictions with quantified theoretical and computational errors.

Progress in the microscopic approach has been quite notable and can be ascribed to two major factors: First, thanks to the advent of Effective Field Theories, we can now systematically develop nuclear potentials that are rooted in the fundamental properties and symmetries exhibited by the low-lying theory of QCD. Second, current computational resources allow us to efficiently apply many-body computational methods and estimate the degree of reliability of theoretical calculations and predictions.

At present, microscopic calculations can be performed to study a variety of nuclear structures over a mass region that has reached medium-mass nuclei. The heaviest masses reached are around A≈100, with different degrees of accuracy, and these limits are constantly being pushed forward. At the same time, this great challenge is expanding into new directions, in particular toward electroweak observables and nuclear reactions, that nowadays require predictions with accuracies never reached before for similar mass ranges. A constant effort from the nuclear physics community that specializes in microscopic calculations is required to benchmark results from different computational methods and assess the robustness and reliability of the microscopic approach.

The aim of this Research Topic is to gather a community of authors, with well-established expertise in microscopic nuclear structure calculations, and collect papers describing their research. In particular, the contributors are expected to present a summary of their recent theoretical advances in this field and, more importantly, to indicate prospective challenges in Nuclear Theory. They are also encouraged to report details on the formal aspects of the methods they implement in their studies.

This Research Topic will summarize the current, state-of-the-art microscopic calculations in Nuclear Theory, aiming to confer a `big picture’ that will be valuable for young researches who intend to enter the discipline. At the same time, such a comprehensive understanding of the field will provide guidance for future directions in advancing the microscopic approach.


Keywords: nuclear structure, nuclear reactions, nuclear forces, effective interactions, electroweak probes


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