Model-independent determination of the dipole response of Zn 66 using quasimonoenergetic and linearly polarized photon beams
Background: Photon strength functions are an important ingredient in calculations relevant for the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements. The relation to the photoabsorption cross section allows to experimentally constrain photon strength functions by investigating the photoresponse of atomic nuclei. Purpose: We determine the photoresponse of Zn66 in the energy region of 5.6 MeV to 9.9 MeV and analyze the contribution of the 'elastic' decay channel back to the ground state. In addition, for the elastic channel electric and magnetic dipole transitions were separated. Methods: Nuclear resonance fluorescence experiments were performed using a linearly polarized quasi-monoenergetic photon beam at the High Intensity γ-ray Source. Photon beam energies from 5.6 to 9.9 MeV with an energy spread of about 3% were selected in steps of 200-300 keV. Two high purity germanium detectors were used for the subsequent γ-ray spectroscopy. Results: Full photoabsorption cross sections are extracted from the data making use of the monoenergetic character of the photon beam. For the ground-state decay channel, the average contribution of electric and magnetic dipole strengths is disentangled. The average branching ratio back to the ground state is determined as well. Conclusions: The new results indicate lower cross sections when compared to the values extracted from a former experiment using bremsstrahlung on Zn66. In the latter, the average branching ratio to the ground state is estimated from statistical-model calculations in order to analyze the data. Corresponding estimates from statistical-model calculations underestimate this branching ratio compared to the values extracted from the present analysis, which would partly explain the high cross sections determined from the bremsstrahlung data.