The Hoyle family: the search for alpha-condensate states in light nuclei

R. Smith*, J. Bishop, Joel Hirst, Tz Kokalova, C. Wheldon

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Our present understanding of the structure of the Hoyle state in 12C and other near-threshold states in α-conjugate nuclei is reviewed in the framework of the α-condensate model. The 12C Hoyle state, in particular, is a candidate for α-condensation, due to its large radius and α-cluster structure. The predicted features of nuclear α-particle condensates are reviewed along with a discussion of their experimental indicators, with a focus on precision break-up measurements. Two experiments are discussed in detail, firstly concerning the break-up of 12C and then the decays of heavier nuclei. With more theoretical input, and increasingly complex detector setups, precision break-up measurements can, in principle, provide insight into the structures of states in α-conjugate nuclei. However, the commonly-held belief that the decay of a condensate state will result in Nα-particles is challenged. We further conclude that unambiguously characterising excited states built on α-condensates is difficult, despite improvements in detector technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalFew-Body Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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