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, 86 (16), 3471-4

End Point of the Rp Process on Accreting Neutron Stars

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End Point of the Rp Process on Accreting Neutron Stars

H Schatz et al. Phys Rev Lett.

Abstract

We calculate the rapid proton ( rp) capture process of hydrogen burning on the surface of an accreting neutron star with an updated reaction network that extends up to Xe, far beyond previous work. In both steady-state nuclear burning appropriate for rapidly accreting neutron stars (such as the magnetic polar caps of accreting x-ray pulsars) and unstable burning of type I x-ray bursts, we find that the rp process ends in a closed SnSbTe cycle. This prevents the synthesis of elements heavier than Te and has important consequences for x-ray burst profiles, the composition of accreting neutron stars, and potentially galactic nucleosynthesis of light p nuclei.

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