The role of fission on neutron star mergers and its impact on the r-process peaks
Zinner, N. T.
Thielemann, F. K.
The comparison between observational abundance features and those obtained from nucleosynthesis predictions of stellar evolution and/or explosion simulations can scrutinize two aspects: (a) the conditions in the astrophysical production site and (b) the quality of the nuclear physics input utilized. Here we test the abundance features of r-process nucleosynthesis calculations using four different fission fragment distribution models. Furthermore, we explore the origin of a shift in the third r-process peak position in comparison with the solar r-process abundances which has been noticed in a number of merger nucleosynthesis predictions. We show that this shift occurs during the r-process freeze-out when neutron captures and β-decays compete and an (n,γ)-(γ,n) equilibrium is not maintained anymore. During this phase neutrons originate mainly from fission of material above A = 240. We also investigate the role of β-decay half-lives from recent theoretical advances, which lead either to a smaller amount of fissioning nuclei during freeze-out or a faster (and thus earlier) release of fission neutrons, which can (partially) prevent this shift and has an impact on the second and rare-earth peak as well.