Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Winger, Jeffry A.

Committee Member

Dutta, Dipangkar

Committee Member

Moong, Gautam Rupak Lan Tai

Committee Member

Gordon, Donna M.

Committee Member

Arnoldus, Hendrik F.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Physics and Astronomy


A study of ground state binding energy values listed in the Atomic Mass Evaluation 2012 (AME2012) using an interpretive approach, as opposed to the exploratory methods of previous models, is presented. This model is based on a postulate requiring all protons to pair with available neutrons to form bound alpha clusters as the ground state for anN = Z core upon which excess neutrons are added. For each core, the trend of the binding energy as a function of excess neutrons in the isotopic chain can be fit with a three-term quadratic function. The quadratic parameter reveals a smooth decaying exponential function. By re-envisioning the determination of mass excess, the constant-term fit parameters, representing N = Z nuclei, reveal a near-symmetry around Z = 50. The linear fit parameters exhibit trends which are linear functions of core size. A neutron drip-line prediction is compared against current models. By considering the possibility of an alpha-cluster core, a new ground-state structure grouping scheme is presented; nucleon-nucleon pairing is shown to have a greater role in level filling. This model, referred to as the Alpha-Deuteron-Neutron Model, yields promising first results when considering root-mean-square variances from the AME2012. The beta-decay of the neutron-rich isotope 74Cu has been studied using three highpurity Germanium clover detectors at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A high-resolution mass separator greatly improved the purity of the 74Cu beam by removing isobaric contaminants, thus allowing decay through its isobar chain to the stable 74Ge at the center of the LeRIBSS detector array without any decay chain member dominating. Using coincidence gating techniques, 121 gamma-rays associated with 74Cu were isolated from the collective singles spectrum. Eighty-seven of these were placed in an expanded level scheme, and updated betaeeding level intensities and log(ft) values are presented based on multiple newly-placed excited states up to 6.8 MeV. The progression of simulated Total Absorption gamma-ray Spectroscopy (TAGS) based on known levels and beta feeding values from previous measurements to this evaluation are presented and demonstrate the need for a TAGS measurement of this isotope to gain a more complete understanding of its decay scheme.