Neutron captures and the rare earth peak

M. Mumpower, R. Surman, G. C. McLaughlin

Proceedings of Science, NIC-XI 273 (2010)

The $r$-process is an important component of heavy element nucleosynthesis. We study the sensitivity of the $r$-process abundance pattern to neutron capture rates along the rare earth peak ($A\sim150$ to $A\sim180$). We determine the type of conditions which produce a rare earth peak consistent with the solar $r$-process data. We identify important neutron capture rates among the rare earth isotopes and show how these rates influence specific sections of the abundance pattern.