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Léo Neufcourt, Yuchen Cao, Samuel A. Giuliani, Witold Nazarewicz, Erik Olsen, Oleg B. Tarasov

The chart of the nuclides is limited by particle drip lines beyond which nuclear stability to proton or neutron emission is lost. Predicting the range of particle-bound isotopes poses an appreciable challenge for nuclear theory as it involves extreme extrapolations of nuclear masses beyond the regions where experimental information is available. Still, quantified extrapolations are crucial for a variety of applications, including the modeling of stellar nucleosynthesis. We use microscopic nuclear mass models and Bayesian methodology to provide quantified predictions of proton and neutron separation energies as well as Bayesian probabilities of existence throughout the nuclear landscape all the way to the particle drip lines. We apply nuclear density functional theory with several energy density functionals. To account for uncertainties, Bayesian Gaussian processes are trained on the separation-energy residuals for each individual model, and the resulting predictions are combined via Bayesian model averaging. This framework allows to account for systematic and statistical uncertainties and propagate them to extrapolative predictions. We characterize the drip-line regions where the probability that the nucleus is particle-bound decreases from $1$ to $0$. In these regions, we provide quantified predictions for one- and two-nucleon separation energies. According to our Bayesian model averaging analysis, 7759 nuclei with $Z\leq 119$ have a probability of existence $\geq 0.5$. The extrapolations obtained in this study will be put through stringent tests when new experimental information on exotic nuclei becomes available. In this respect, the quantified landscape of nuclear existence obtained in this study should be viewed as a dynamical prediction that will be fine-tuned when new experimental information and improved global mass models become available.

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Léo Neufcourt, Yuchen Cao, Samuel Giuliani, Witold Nazarewicz, Erik Olsen, Oleg B. Tarasov

The limits of the nuclear landscape are determined by nuclear binding energies. Beyond the proton drip lines, where the separation energy becomes negative, there is not enough binding energy to prevent protons from escaping the nucleus. Predicting properties of unstable nuclear states in the vast territory of proton emitters poses an appreciable challenge for nuclear theory as it often involves far extrapolations. In addition, significant discrepancies between nuclear models in the proton-rich territory call for quantified predictions. With the help of Bayesian methodology, we mix a family of nuclear mass models corrected with statistical emulators trained on the experimental mass measurements, in the proton-rich region of the nuclear chart. Separation energies were computed within nuclear density functional theory using several Skyrme and Gogny energy density functionals. We also considered mass predictions based on two models used in astrophysical studies. Quantified predictions were obtained for each model using Bayesian Gaussian processes trained on separation-energy residuals and combined via Bayesian model averaging. We obtained a good agreement between averaged predictions of statistically corrected models and experiment. In particular, we quantified model results for one- and two-proton separation energies and derived probabilities of proton emission. This information enabled us to produce a quantified landscape of proton-rich nuclei. The most promising candidates for two-proton decay studies have been identified. The methodology used in this work has broad applications to model-based extrapolations of various nuclear observables. It also provides a reliable uncertainty quantification of theoretical predictions.

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Léo Neufcourt, Yuchen Cao, Witold Nazarewicz, Erik Olsen, Frederi Viens

The region of heavy calcium isotopes forms the frontier of experimental and theoretical nuclear structure research where the basic concepts of nuclear physics are put to stringent test. The recent discovery of the extremely neutron-rich nuclei around $^{60}$Ca [Tarasov, 2018] and the experimental determination of masses for $^{55-57}$Ca (Michimasa, 2018] provide unique information about the binding energy surface in this region. To assess the impact of these experimental discoveries on the nuclear landscape's extent, we use global mass models and statistical machine learning to make predictions, with quantified levels of certainty, for bound nuclides between Si and Ti. Using a Bayesian model averaging analysis based on Gaussian-process-based extrapolations we introduce the posterior probability $p_{ex}$ for each nucleus to be bound to neutron emission. We find that extrapolations for drip-line locations, at which the nuclear binding ends, are consistent across the global mass models used, in spite of significant variations between their raw predictions. In particular, considering the current experimental information and current global mass models, we predict that $^{68}$Ca has an average posterior probability ${p_{ex}\approx76}$% to be bound to two-neutron emission while the nucleus $^{61}$Ca is likely to decay by emitting a neutron (${p_{ex}\approx 46}$ %).

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