Research Assistant Professor
B.S. Beijing University, 1994
M.S. Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 1997
Ph.D. Michigan State University, 2002
E-mail: wtan (at) nd (dot) edu
Address: Nieuwland Science Hall 210D
Nuclear physics plays a significant role in energy production and element synthesis of explosive astrophysical environments such as novae and X-ray bursts occurring in accreting compact stars. Prof. Tan’s research has been focused on the studies of the underlying nuclear reactions that trigger and boost these stellar explosions. One particular reaction is the 15O(a,g) breakout from the hot CNO cycle that is critical for understanding the behavior of X-ray bursts. Conditions of X-ray bursts are characterized by a sensitive interplay between fuel supply and depletion by nuclear burning. This balance depends critically on the ignition through the nuclear trigger reaction 15O(a,g) that regulates the flow between the beta-limited hot CNO cycle and the rapid proton (rp) capture process. Prof. Tan led the first measurement of this reaction rate at Notre Dame that demonstrated how the laboratory results can provide stringent limits for the burning conditions in stellar objects.
A series of (a,p) reactions on the waiting point nuclei along the rp-process path and in the hot CNO cycle are known for setting the timescale and ashes composition of the explosive hydrogen burning in accreting stars. Prof. Tan’s interests include a systematic experimental investigation of the level parameters of these nuclei near the alpha threshold to further understand the nuclear aspects of the X-ray bursts. In such and other explosive stellar sites, photodisintegration process or p-process is believed to be responsible for the synthesis of proton-rich p-nuclei. Prof. Tan also works on an improved understanding of this process via better determination of nuclear optical potentials with precision alpha scattering/induced reaction experiments.
“Lifetime of the astrophysically important 4.03 MeV state in 19Ne,” W.P. Tan, J. Görres, J. Daly, M. Couder, A. Couture, H.Y. Lee, E. Stech, E. Strandberg, C. Ugalde, and M. Wiescher, Phys. Rev. C 72, 041302® (2005).
“Spin determination of particle unstable levels with particle correlations,” W.P. Tan, W.G. Lynch, T.X. Liu, X.D. Liu, M.B. Tsang, G. Verde, A. Wagner, H.S. Xu, B. Davin, R.T. de Souza, Y. Larochelle, R. Yanez, R.J. Charity and L.G. Sobotka, Phys. Rev. C 69, 061304® (2004).
“Fragment isotope distributions and the isospin dependent equation of state,” W.P. Tan, B.-A. Li, R. Donangelo, C.K. Gelbke, M.-J. van Goethem, X.D. Liu, W.G. Lynch, S. Souza, M.B. Tsang, G. Verde, A. Wagner, and H.S. Xu, Phys. Rev. C 64, 051901® (2001).
“Isospin Fractionation in Nuclear Multifragmentation,” H.S. Xu, M.B. Tsang, T.X. Liu, X.D. Liu, W.G. Lynch, W.P. Tan, A. Vander Molen, G. Verde, A. Wagner, H.F. Xi, C.K. Gelbke, L. Beaulieu, B. Davin, Y. Larochelle, T. Lefort, R.T. de Souza, R. Yanez, V.E. Viola, R.J. Charity and L.G. Sobotka, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 716 (2000).