Presentation of the ERC project "GENESIS"

by Julien Fuchs (Ecole Polytechnique/LULI)

I will present my ERC project "GEnerating extreme NEutrons for achieving
controlled r-process nucleosyntheSIS" that will take place over the next 5 years.
The project aim is to perform the first direct measurements of neutron capture and beta-decay rates related to the “r-process” of nucleosynthesis.
This process, based on squeezing at once multiple neutrons in a nucleus, is presently thought to be the main mechanism that forms the heaviest elements in our Solar System and in stars. 

At present, there are large discrepancies between the observed element abundances in stars and thosefound from simulations. It is speculated that this problem stems from the
uncertainties in nuclear parameters, particularly in the plasma environment. These nuclear parameters have not been experimentally verified due to the too-low flux of current neutron facilities and the lack of means to create on-site hot and dense plasmas.
The project aims at filling this gap by exploiting the upcoming generation of multi-PW lasers as a neutron source, with the needed flux, i.e. a flux comparable to that found in Supernovae. I will introduce the topic and the foreseen project planning.