Estimation of M1 scissors mode strength for deformed nuclei in the medium to heavy mass region by statistical Hauser-Feshbach model calculations

M. Mumpower et al.

submitted (2017)

Radiative neutron capture is an important nuclear reaction whose accurate description is needed for many applications ranging from nuclear technology to nuclear astrophysics. The description of such a process relies on the Hauser-Feshbach theory which requires the nuclear optical potential, level density and $\gamma$-strength function as model inputs. It has recently been suggested that the M1 scissors mode may explain discrepancies between theoretical calculations and evaluated data. We explore statistical model calculations with the strength of the M1 scissors mode estimated to be dependent on the nuclear deformation of the compound system. We show that the form of the M1 scissors mode improves the theoretical description of evaluated data and the match to experiment in both the fission product and actinide regions. Since the scissors mode occurs in the range of a few keV $\sim$ a few MeV, it may also impact the neutron capture cross sections of neutron-rich nuclei that participate in the rapid neutron capture process of nucleosynthesis. We comment on the possible impact to nucleosynthesis by evaluating neutron capture rates for neutron-rich nuclei with the M1 scissors mode active.