Correlation energy

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The correlation is from the off-diagonal terms of the residual interaction, which is the TBME of the shell model. Consider following Hamiltonian of these nuclei

H(Z,N-1) = H(Z,N-2) + h_n + R_n

H(Z,N) = H(Z,N-2) + h_{n_1} + h_{n_2} + R_{n_1} + R_{n_2} + R_{nn}

the correlation energy between the two neutrons is the term R_{nn}. Be aware that this is a residual interaction, not the nucleon-nucleon interaction V_{ij}.

V_{ij}= \begin{pmatrix} V_{11} & V_{12} & V_{1C} \\ V_{21} & V_{22} & V_{2C} \\ V_{C1} & V_{C2} & V_{CC} \end{pmatrix}


R_{n} = \begin{pmatrix} V_{11} - U_1 & V_{1C} \\ V_{C1} & V_{CC}-U_C \end{pmatrix},

where U_i is mean field.

The separation energies is proportional to the terms

S_n(Z,N-1) \sim h_n + V_n

S_{2n}(Z,N)\sim  h_{n_1} + h_{n_2} + V_{n_1} + V_{n_2} + V_{nn}

Thus, the neutron-neutron correlation energy is

\Delta_{pn}(N,Z) = 2*S_n(Z,N-1) - S_{2n}(N,Z)

For 18O, S_n(^{17}O) = 4.1431 MeV, and S_{2n}(^{18}O) = 12.1885 MeV, thus, \Delta_{2n}(^{18}O) = 3.9023 MeV.

In the shell model calculation, the single particle energy of the 1d5/2 and 2s1/2 neutron are -4.143 MeV and -3.27 MeV respectively. The residual interaction is

V = \begin{pmatrix} -1.79 & -0.83 \\ -0.83 & -2.53\end{pmatrix}

The eigenenergy of the ground state of 18O is -10.539 on top of 16O.

The non-correlated binding energy of 18O is  2*-4.143 = -8.286 MeV.

Therefore, the theoretical correlated energy is 2.258 MeV.

Nuclear correlation & Spectroscopic factor

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In the fundamental, correlation between two objects is

P(x,y) \neq P(x) P(y)

where P is some kind of function. To apply this concept on nuclear physics, lets take a sample from 18O. 18O can be treated as 16O + n + n. In the independent particle model (IPM), the wave function can be expressed as

\left|^{18}O\right>= \left|^{16}O\right>\left|\phi_a\right>\left|\phi_b\right>= \left|^{16}O\right>\left|2n\right>

where the wave function of the two neutrons is expressed as a direct product of two IPM eigen wave functions, that they are un-correlated. Note that the anti-symmetry should be taken in to account, but neglected for simplicity.

We knew that IPM is not complete, the residual interaction has to be accounted. According to B.A. Brown, Lecture Notes in Nuclear Structure Physics [2011], Chapter 22, the 1s1/2 state have to be considered. Since the ground state spins of 18O and 16O are 0, thus, the wavefunction of the two neutrons has to be spin 0, so that only both are in 1d5/2 or 2s1/2 orbit. Thus, the two neutrons wave function is

\left| 2n \right> = \alpha \left|\phi_1\right>\left|\phi_1\right>+\beta \left|\phi_2\right>\left|\phi_2\right>

when either \alpha or \beta not equal 0, thus, the two neutrons are correlation. In fact, the \alpha = 0.87 and \beta = 0.49.

The spectroscopic factor of the sd-shell neutron is the coefficient of \alpha times a isospin-coupling factor.

From the above example, the correlation is caused by the off-diagonal part of the residual interaction. To be more specific, lets take 18O as an example. The total Hamiltonian is

H_{18} = H_{16} + h_1 + h_2 + V

where h_1 = h_2 = h is the mean field or single particle Hamiltonian

h\left|\phi_i\right>= \epsilon_i\left|\phi_i\right>

since H_{16} is diagonal and not excited (if it excited, then it is called core polarization in shell model calculation, because the model space did not included 16O.), i.e. H_{16} = \epsilon_{16} I , we can neglect it in the diagonalization of the h_1+h_2 + V and add back at the end. In the 1d5/2 and 2s1/2 model space, in order to form spin 0, there is only 2 basis,

\left|\psi_1\right> = \left|\phi_1\right>\left|\phi_1\right> and

\left|\psi_2\right> = \left|\phi_2\right>\left|\phi_2\right>

express the Hamiltonian in these basis,

V = \begin{pmatrix} -1.79 & -0.83 \\ -0.83 & -2.53\end{pmatrix}

Because of the diagonalization, the two states \left|\psi_1\right> and\left|\psi_2\right> are mixed, than the two neutrons are correlated. This is called configuration mixing.

According to B.A. Brown,

the configuration mixing on the above is long-ranged correlation (LRC). It is near the Fermi surface and the energy is up to 10 MeV.

The short-ranged correlation (SRC) is caused by the nuclear hard core that scattered a nucleon to highly single particle orbit up to 100 MeV.

The LRC is included in the two-body-matrix element. The SRC is included implicitly through re-normalization of the model space.

There is a correlation due to tensor force. Since the tensor force is also short-ranged, sometimes it is not clear what SRC is referring from the context. And the tensor force is responsible for the isoscalar pairing.

The discrepancy of the experimental spectroscopic factor and the shall model calculation is mainly caused by the SRC.

Shell model calculation and the USD, USDA, and USDB interaction

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Form the mean field calculation, the single particle energies are obtained. However, the residual interaction is still there that the actual state could be affected. Because the residual interaction produces the off-diagonal terms in the total Hamiltonian, and that mixed the single particle state.

The Shell Model calculation can calculate the nuclear structure from another approach. It started from a assumed nuclear Hamiltonian, with a basis of wavefunctions. The Hamiltonian is diagonalized with the basis, then the eigenstates are the solution of the wavefunctions and the nuclear structure, both ground state and excited states. The basis is usually the spherical harmonic with some radial function. Or it could be, in principle, can take from the result of mean field calculation. Thus, the Shell Model calculation attacks the problem directly with only assumption of the nuclear interaction.

However, the dimension of the basis of the shell model calculation could be very huge. In principle, it should be infinitely because of the completeness of vector space. Fro practical purpose, the dimension or the number of the basis has to be reduced, usually take a major shell. for example the p-shell, s-d shell, p-f shell. However, even thought the model space is limited, the number of basis is also huge. “for ^{28}Si the 12-particle state with M=0 for the sum of the j_z quantum numbers and T_z=0 for the sum of the %Latex t_z$ quantum numbers has dimension 93,710 in the m-scheme” [B. A. Brown and B. H. Wildenthal, Ann. Rev. Nucl. Part. Sci. 38 (1998) 29-66]. Beside the huge dimensions and the difficult for diagonalizing the Hamiltonian, the truncation of the model space also affect the interaction.

We can imagine that the effective interaction is different from the actual nuclear interaction, because some energy levels cannot be reached, for example, the short range hard core could produce very high energy excitation. Therefore, the results of the calculation in the truncated model space must be “re-normalized”.

There are 4 problems in the shell model calculation:

  • the model space
  • the effective interaction
  • the diagonalization
  • the renormalization of the result

The shell model can also calculate the excited state with 1\hbar \omega (1 major shell). This requires combination of the interactions between 2 major shell.

For usage, say in the code OXBASH, user major concern is the choice of the interaction and model space. The shell model are able to calculate

  • The binding energy
  • The excitation energies
    • The nucleons separation energies
  • The configuration of each state
  • The magnetic dipole matrix elements
  • The Gamow-Teller (GT) transition
  • The spectroscopic factor
  • …… and more.


The W interaction (or the USD) for the s-d shell was introduced by B.H. Wildenthal around 1990s. It is an parametric effective interaction deduced from fitting experimental energy levels for some s-d shell nuclei. Before it, there are some theoretical interactions that require “no parameter”, for example the G-matrix interaction is the in-medium nucleon-nucleon interaction.

The problem for the USD interaction is the interpretation, because it is a black-box that it can reproduce most of the experimental result better than theoretical interactions, but no one know why and how. One possible way is translate the two-body matrix elements (TBME) back to the central, spin-orbit, tensor force. It found that the central and spin-orbit force are similar with the theoretical interactions, but the tensor force could be different. Also, there could be three-body force that implicitly included in the USD interaction.

In 2006, B.A. Brown and W.A. Richter improved the USD interaction with the new data from the past 20 years [B.A. Brown, PRC 74, 034315(2006)]. The new USD interaction is called USDA and USDB. The difference between USDA and USDB is the fitting (something like that, I am not so sure), but basically, USDA and USDB only different by very little. Since the USDB has better fitting, we will focus on the USDB interaction.

The single particle energy for the USDB is

  • 1d_{3/2} = 2.117
  • 2s_{1/2} = -3.2079
  • 1d_{5/2} = -3.9257

in comparison, the single particle energies of the neutron of 17O of 2s_{1/2} = -3.27 and 1d_{5/2} = -4.14.

Can to USD interaction predicts the new magic number N=16?

Yes, in a report by O. Sorlin and M.-G. Porquet (Nuclear magic numbers: new features far from stability) They shows the effective single particle energy of oxygen and carbon using the monopole matrix elements of the USDB interaction. The new magic number N=16 can be observed.