Purdue University Graduate School
Michael_D_Higgins_Thesis.pdf (7.68 MB)

An Adiabatic Hyperspherical Treatment of Few-Body Systems in Atomic and Nuclear Physics

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posted on 2023-04-25, 01:08 authored by Michael David HigginsMichael David Higgins

  The adiabatic hyperspherical representation has been applied to study few-body systems in both ultracold atomic physics and low energy nuclear physics, as it is a powerful tool that can be used to solve a variety of few-body Hamiltonian's across a wide range of disciplines in physics. In conjunction with the adiabatic hyperspherical representation, we utilized an explicitly correlated Gaussian basis expansion, different from the traditional hyperspherical harmonic expansion typically used with this method. In atomic physics, we applied this method to study the four-body (e-e-e+e+) coulombic system to study positronium-positronium collisions and to get a theoretical value of the 1s-2s scattering length. This work is published in [Phys. Rev. A 100, 012711 (2019)]. We also looked at few-body physics near the unitary limit, particularly near the s- and p-wave unitary limits where the dominant length scale is the scattering length and scattering volume. On this front, we studied universal physics in this regime for the equal-mass system. This work is published in [Phys. Rev. A 106, 023304 (2022)]. This method was further applied to few-body nuclear physics.

  We treat the three and four neutron scattering problems in the N-body continuum to understand and gain insight into possible few-neutron resonances, most notably whether a four-neutron resonance exists. There have been many conflicting theoretical results on whether a four-neutron resonance exists that stemmed from a recent experiment by Kisimori et al. in 2016 [Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 052501 (2016)]. To provide further theoretical insight on this problem, we use the adiabatic hyperspherical toolkit to probe the scattering continuum and from the 4n density of states, conclude that there is no 4n resonance state. Our work on this is published in [Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 052501 (2020)] and [Phys. Rev. C 103, 024004 (2021)]. There are other few-body systems in nuclear physics that are explored in the adiabatic hyperspherical representation, including systems like the triton, helium-3, and helium-4 nuclei to visualize and characterize the different reaction pathways the N-body system can fragment into at a given collision energy.


National Science Foundation Grant No. PHY-1912350


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Physics and Astronomy

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Chris H. Greene

Additional Committee Member 2

Francis J. Robicheaux

Additional Committee Member 3

Fuqiang Wang

Additional Committee Member 4

Qi Zhou

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