Neutron radioactivity—Lifetime measurements of neutron-unbound states

J. Kahlbow*, C. Caesar, T. Aumann, V. Panin, S. Paschalis, H. Scheit, H. Simon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new technique to measure the lifetime τ of a neutron-radioactive nucleus that decays in-flight via neutron emission is presented and demonstrated utilizing MonteCarlo simulations. The method is based on the production of the neutron-unbound nucleus in a target, which at the same time slows down the produced nucleus and the residual nucleus after (multi-) neutron emission. The spectrum of the velocity difference of neutron(s) and the residual nucleus has a characteristic shape, that allows to extract the lifetime. If the decay happens outside the target there will be a peak in the spectrum, while events where the decay is in the target show a broad flat distribution due to the continuous slowing down of the residual nucleus. The method itself and the analysis procedure are discussed in detail for the specific candidate 26O. A stack of targets with decreasing target thicknesses can expand the measurable lifetime range and improve the sensitivity by increasing the ratio between decays outside and inside the target. The simulations indicate a lower limit of measurable lifetime τ∼0.2 ps for the given conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017, The Authors


  • O
  • Lifetime measurements
  • Neutron radioactivity
  • Neutron spectroscopy
  • Neutron-rich nuclei

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