The 7Be electron capture rate in the sun

Andrei V. Gruzinov, John N. Bahcall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    For solar conditions, we numerically integrate the density matrix equation for a thermal electron in the field of a 7Be ion and other plasma ions and smeared-out electrons. With this technique, we can calculate the capture rate without either assuming the existence of bound states or requiring fluctuations to be spherical. Our results are in agreement with previous calculations that are based on a different physical picture, a picture that postulates the existence of distinct continuum and bound-state orbits for electrons. The density matrix calculation of the electron capture rate is independent of the nature of electron states in the solar plasma. To within 1% accuracy, the effects of screening can be described at high temperatures by a Salpeter-like factor of exp (-Ze2/kTRD), which can be derived from the density matrix equation. We show that nonspherical fluctuations change the reaction rate by less than 1%. The total theoretical uncertainty in the electron capture rate is about ±2%.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)437-441
    Number of pages5
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1 PART I
    StatePublished - 1997


    • Abundances
    • Nuclear reactions
    • Nucleosynthesis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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