Microscopic theory of nuclear fission
The quantitative description of fission is arguably the most daunting
challenge in contemporary nuclear physics, and has remained elusive
since the official discovery of the phenomenon in 1939. With recent
developments in formalism, coupled with the advent of parallel
computing, the microscopic treatment of fission within the framework
of quantum many-body theory is now becoming feasible.
I will present a comprehensive microscopic theory of induced fission, which treats both static and dynamic aspects of fission within a fully quantum-mechanical, fully self-consistent framework. The only phenomenological input to this approach is the effective interaction between nucleons. I will present results for the behavior of 240Pu near scission, and discuss the properties (e.g., excitation and kinetic energies) of the fission fragments deduced within this formalism. I will also discuss the dynamical aspect of the theory and its application to the prediction of fragment yields, fission times, and the coupling between degrees of freedom which is described in terms of dissipation effects in non-microscopic theories.
This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.