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Nuclear astrophysics

Our actual knowledge in stellar evolution and element synthesis in the Universe is at the heart of nuclear astrophysics field. The latter is interdisciplinary by excellence and it is enriched by the research performed in nuclear physics and astrophysics modeling as well as astronomic observations. Three important nucleosynthesis sites were identified : the Big-Bang responsible of the production of light elements (A < 8), the stars (non-explosive and explosive nucleosynthesis) responsible of the production of most elements observed in the Universe and finally the interaction of cosmic rays with the interstellar medium.
The nuclear reactions involved in these astrophysics sites and particularly in stars are extremely difficult to measure because of the very low cross sections and/or the radioactive nature of the concerning isotopes, often far from the valley of stability.
Improving our knowledge of nucleosynthesis processes occurring in the Universe requires on the one hand more precise astronomical observations and on the other hand a better knowledge of the nuclear properties (masses, decay half-life, density level, energy localization of the levels, their spin-parity assignment and their decay mode) of the nuclei involved in these processes.

The IPNO nuclear astrophysics group is involved in the study of stellar nucleosynthesis in different astrophysics sites using the present existing facilities (Tandem/ALTO, GANIL) and the indirect methods such as transfer reactions.

In the past few years, the main topics that were studied are the following:

• Massive stars and 26Al nucleosynthesis

• Big-Bang nucleosynthesis and the 7Li cosmological problem

• 60Fe destruction and the 60Fe(n,γ)61Fe reaction

• Massive stars and 12C(α,γ)16O reaction

• Classical novae and 26Al nucleosynthesis

• AGB stars and 13C(α,n)16O reaction



Institut de Physique Nucléaire Orsay - 15 rue Georges CLEMENCEAU - 91406 ORSAY (FRANCE)
UMR 8608 - CNRS/IN2P3

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