Type I X-ray bursts are the most commonly occurring stellar explosions observed in the Galaxy. Explosive hydrogen-helium burning in Type I X-ray bursts arises from thermonuclear ignition in the envelopes of accreting neutron stars in low-mass binary systems. In order to understand the mechanism responsible for these bursts, astrophysical models require knowledge of key nuclear reactions taking place in this stellar environment. Recreating these stellar conditions in the laboratory is challenging. This is due to the typically small cross sections of these reactions and the experimental difficulties associated with low-intensity radioactive beams needed to study them. As a consequence, most of these reaction rates are still unknown. However, recent advances in the capabilities of radioactive ion beam facilities and experimental techniques have opened up new possibilities for the study of these astrophysically important reactions. In this talk I will focus on these recent advances that are enabling better insights into the nuclear physics measurement relevant for Type I X-ray bursts.
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule