Department of Astronomy & Physics

Size of proton distribution in exotic carbon isotopes revealed

part of the GSI, FRS facility where the experiment was performed. Left to right : Dr. Alfredo Estrade (SMU-GSI post doc)., Dr. Rituparna Kanungo (SMU faculty and leader of the project), Dr. Hans Geissel (GSI-FRS team leader).

Carbon with balanced neutron ad proton number is an essential element necessary for life on our planet.  There exists however in nature more exotic forms of carbon where the neutrons out number the protons.  How are the protons in all these isotopes distributed ? Can they tell us how nature’s strong interaction behaves ?

Dr. Rituparna Kanungo, Professor of the Astronomy and Physics Department at Saint Mary’s University led an international team to measure the radii of neutron-rich carbon isotopes using the highest energy rare isotope facility at GSI Helmholtz Center, Darmstadt, Germany.  Post doctoral fellow Dr.Alfredo Estrade (currently Assistant Professor at Central Michigan University, USA) was also a key player in this endeavor.

The results were published in Physical Review Letters on September 2, 2016.

See publication here:

Read more about the work here:


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