Advances in atomic data for neutron-capture elements

Nicholas C. Sterling, Michael C. Witthoeft, David A. Esteves, Phillip C. Stancil, A. L.David Kilcoyne, Rene C. Bilodeau, Alejandro Aguilar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Neutron(n)-capture elements (atomic number Z > 30), which can be produced in planetary nebula (PN) progenitor stars via s-process nucleosynthesis, have been detected in nearly 100 PNe. This demonstrates that nebular spectroscopy is a potentially powerful tool for studying the production and chemical evolution of trans-iron elements. However, significant challenges must be addressed before this goal can be achieved. One of the most substantial hurdles is the lack of atomic data for n-capture elements, particularly that needed to solve for their ionization equilibrium (and hence to convert ionic abundances to elemental abundances). To address this need, we have computed photoionization cross sections and radiative and dielectronic recombination rate coefficients for the first six ions of Se and Kr. The calculations were benchmarked against experimental photoionization cross section measurements. In addition, we computed charge transfer (CT) rate coefficients for ions of six n-capture elements. These efforts will enable the accurate determination of nebular Se and Kr abundances, allowing robust investigations of s-process enrichments in PNe.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlanetary Nebulae
Subtitle of host publicationAn Eye to the Future
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)9781107019836
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • atomic data
  • planetary nebulae: general
  • stars: AGB and post-AGB


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