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  1. We investigate the origin in the early Solar System of the short-lived radionuclide 244Pu (with a half life of 80 Myr) produced by the rapid (r) neutron-capture process. We consider two large sets of r-process nucleosynthesis models and analyse if the origin of 244Pu in the ESS is consistent with that of the other r and slow (s) neutron-capture process radioactive nuclei. Uncertainties on the r-process models come from both the nuclear physics input and the astrophysical site. The former strongly affects the ratios of isotopes of close mass (129I/127I, 244Pu/238U, and 247Pu/235U). The 129I/247Cm ratio, instead, which involves isotopes of a very different mass, is much more variable than those listed above and is more affected by the physics of the astrophysical site. We consider possible scenarios for the evolution of the abundances of these radioactive nuclei in the galactic interstellar medium and verify under which scenarios and conditions solutions can be found for the origin of 244Pu that are consistent with the origin of the other isotopes. Solutions are generally found for all the possible different regimes controlled by the interval (δ) between additions from the source to the parcel of interstellar medium gas that ended up inmore »the Solar System, relative to decay timescales. If r-process ejecta in interstellar medium are mixed within a relatively small area (leading to a long δ), we derive that the last event that explains the 129I and 247Cm abundances in the early Solar System can also account for the abundance of 244Pu. Due to its longer half life, however, 244Pu may have originated from a few events instead of one only. If r-process ejecta in interstellar medium are mixed within a relatively large area (leading to a short δ), we derive that the time elapsed from the formation of the molecular cloud to the formation of the Sun was 9-16 Myr.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Open clusters appear as simple objects in many respects, with a high degree of homogeneity in their (initial) chemical composition, and the typical solar-scaled abundance pattern that they exhibit for the majority of the chemical species. The striking singularity is represented by heavy elements produced from the slow process of the neutron-capture reactions. In particular, young open clusters (ages less than a few hundred Myr) give rise to the so-called barium puzzle: that is an extreme enhancement in their [Be/Fe] ratios, up to a factor of four of the solar value, which is not followed by other nearby s-process elements (e.g., lanthanum and cerium). The definite explanation for such a peculiar trend is still wanting, as many different solutions have been envisaged. We review the status of this field and present our new results on young open clusters and the pre-main sequence star RZ Piscium.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Isotope variations of nucleosynthetic origin among solar system solid samples are well documented, yet the origin of these variations is still uncertain. The observed variability of 54 Cr among materials formed in different regions of the protoplanetary disk has been attributed to variable amounts of presolar, chromium-rich oxide (chromite) grains, which exist within the meteoritic stardust inventory and most likely originated from some type of supernova explosion. To investigate if core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) could be the site of origin of these grains, we analyze yields of CCSN models of stars with initial masses 15, 20, and 25 M ⊙ , and solar metallicity. We present an extensive abundance data set of the Cr, Mg, and Al isotopes as a function of enclosed mass. We find cases in which the explosive C ashes produce a composition in good agreement with the observed 54 Cr/ 52 Cr and 53 Cr/ 52 Cr ratios as well as the 50 Cr/ 52 Cr ratios. Taking into account that the signal at atomic mass 50 could also originate from 50 Ti, the ashes of explosive He burning also match the observed ratios. Addition of material from the He ashes (enriched in Al and Crmore »relative to Mg to simulate the make-up of chromite grains) to the solar system’s composition may reproduce the observed correlation between Mg and Cr anomalies, while material from the C ashes does not present significant Mg anomalies together with Cr isotopic variations. In all cases, nonradiogenic, stable Mg isotope variations dominate over the variations expected from 26 Al.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT Short-lived radioactive isotopes (SLRs) with half-lives between 0.1 and 100 Myr can be used to probe the origin of the Solar system. In this work, we examine the core-collapse supernovae production of the 15 SLRs produced: 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, 53Mn, 60Fe, 92Nb, 97Tc, 98Tc, 107Pd, 126Sn, 129I, 135Cs, 146Sm, 182Hf, and 205Pb. We probe the impact of the uncertainties of the core-collapse explosion mechanism by examining a collection of 62 core-collapse models with initial masses of 15, 20, and 25 M⊙, explosion energies between 3.4 × 1050 and 1.8 × 1052 erg and compact remnant masses between 1.5 and 4.89 M⊙. We identify the impact of both explosion energy and remnant mass on the final yields of the SLRs. Isotopes produced within the innermost regions of the star, such as 92Nb and 97Tc, are the most affected by the remnant mass, 92Nb varying by five orders of magnitude. Isotopes synthesized primarily in explosive C-burning and explosive He-burning, such as 60Fe, are most affected by explosion energies. 60Fe increases by two orders of magnitude from the lowest to the highest explosion energy in the 15 M⊙ model. The final yield of each examined SLR is used to compare to literature models.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 7, 2023
  5. Radioactive nuclei are the key to understanding the circumstances of the birth of our Sun because meteoritic analysis has proven that many of them were present at that time. Their origin, however, has been so far elusive. The ERC-CoG-2016 RADIOSTAR project is dedicated to investigating the production of radioactive nuclei by nuclear reactions inside stars, their evolution in the Milky Way Galaxy, and their presence in molecular clouds. So far, we have discovered that: (i) radioactive nuclei produced by slow (107Pd and 182Hf) and rapid (129I and 247Cm) neutron captures originated from stellar sources —asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars and compact binary mergers, respectively—within the galactic environment that predated the formation of the molecular cloud where the Sun was born; (ii) the time that elapsed from the birth of the cloud to the birth of the Sun was of the order of 107 years, and (iii) the abundances of the very short-lived nuclei 26Al, 36Cl, and 41Ca can be explained by massive star winds in single or binary systems, if these winds directly polluted the early Solar System. Our current and future work, as required to finalise the picture of the origin of radioactive nuclei in the Solar System, involvesmore »studying the possible origin of radioactive nuclei in the early Solar System from core-collapse supernovae, investigating the production of 107Pd in massive star winds, modelling the transport and mixing of radioactive nuclei in the galactic and molecular cloud medium, and calculating the galactic chemical evolution of 53Mn and 60Fe and of the p-process isotopes 92Nb and 146Sm.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  6. Abstract

    Analysis of inclusions in primitive meteorites reveals that several short-lived radionuclides (SLRs) with half-lives of 0.1–100 Myr existed in the early solar system (ESS). We investigate the ESS origin of107Pd,135Cs, and182Hf, which are produced byslowneutron captures (thes-process) in asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. We modeled the Galactic abundances of these SLRs using theOMEGA+galactic chemical evolution (GCE) code and two sets of mass- and metallicity-dependent AGB nucleosynthesis yields (Monash and FRUITY). Depending on the ratio of the mean-lifeτof the SLR to the average length of time between the formations of AGB progenitorsγ, we calculate timescales relevant for the birth of the Sun. Ifτ/γ≳ 2, we predict self-consistent isolation times between 9 and 26 Myr by decaying the GCE predicted107Pd/108Pd,135Cs/133Cs, and182Hf/180Hf ratios to their respective ESS ratios. The predicted107Pd/182Hf ratio indicates that our GCE models are missing 9%–73% of107Pd and108Pd in the ESS. This missing component may have come from AGB stars of higher metallicity than those that contributed to the ESS in our GCE code. Ifτ/γ≲ 0.3, we calculate instead the time (TLE) from the last nucleosynthesis event that added the SLRs into the presolar matter to the formation of the oldest solids in the ESS. For the 2M,Z= 0.01more »Monash model we find a self-consistent solution ofTLE= 25.5 Myr.

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  7. The composition of the early Solar System can be inferred from meteorites. Many elements heavier than iron were formed by the rapid neutron capture process (r-process), but the astrophysical sources where this occurred remain poorly understood. We demonstrate that the near-identical half-lives ( ≃ 15.6  million years ) of the radioactive r-process nuclei iodine-129 and curium-247 preserve their ratio, irrespective of the time between production and incorporation into the Solar System. We constrain the last r-process source by comparing the measured meteoritic ratio 129 I/ 247 Cm = 438 ± 184 with nucleosynthesis calculations based on neutron star merger and magneto-rotational supernova simulations. Moderately neutron-rich conditions, often found in merger disk ejecta simulations, are most consistent with the meteoritic value. Uncertain nuclear physics data limit our confidence in this conclusion.