Barium Isotopic Composition of Mainstream Silicon Carbides from Murchison: Constraints for s-Process Nucleosynthesis in AGB Stars [SSA]

We present barium, carbon, and silicon isotopic compositions of 38 acid-cleaned presolar SiC grains from Murchison. Comparison with previous data shows that acid washing is highly effective in removing barium contamination. Strong depletions in $\delta$($^{138}$Ba/$^{136}$Ba) values are found, down to $-$400 permil, which can only be modeled with a flatter $^{13}$C profile within the $^{13}$C pocket than is normally used. The dependence of $\delta$($^{138}$Ba/$^{136}$Ba) predictions on the distribution of $^{13}$C within the pocket in AGB models allows us to probe the $^{13}$C profile within the $^{13}$C pocket and the pocket mass in asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. In addition, we provide constraints on the $^{22}$Ne$(\alpha,n)^{25}$Mg rate in the stellar temperature regime relevant to AGB stars, based on $\delta$($^{134}$Ba/$^{136}$Ba) values of mainstream grains. We found two nominally mainstream grains with strongly negative $\delta$($^{134}$Ba/$^{136}$Ba) values that cannot be explained by any of the current AGB model calculations. Instead, such negative values are consistent with the intermediate neutron capture process ($i$-process), which is activated by the Very Late Thermal Pulse (VLTP) during the post-AGB phase and characterized by a neutron density much higher than the $s$-process. These two grains may have condensed around post-AGB stars. Finally, we report abundances of two $p$-process isotopes, $^{130}$Ba and $^{132}$Ba, in single SiC grains. These isotopes are destroyed in the $s$-process in AGB stars. By comparing their abundances with respect to that of $^{135}$Ba, we conclude that there is no measurable decay of $^{135}$Cs ($t_{1/2}$= 2.3 Ma) to $^{135}$Ba in individual SiC grains, indicating condensation of barium, but not cesium into SiC grains before $^{135}$Cs decayed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Liu, M. Savina, A. Davis, et. al.
Wed, 19 Mar 14