Until recently, ground-state nuclear moments of the heaviest nuclei could only be inferred from nuclear spectroscopy, where model assumptions are required. Laser spectroscopy in combination with modern atomic structure calculations is now able to probe these moments directly, in a comprehensive and nuclear-model-independent way. Here we report on unique access to the differential mean-square charge radii of 252,253,254No, and therefore to changes in nuclear size and shape. State-of-the-art nuclear density functional calculations describe well the changes in nuclear charge radii in the region of the heavy actinides, indicating an appreciable central depression in the deformed proton density distribution in 252,254No isotopes. Finally, the hyperfine splitting of 253No was evaluated, enabling a complementary measure of its (quadrupole) deformation, as well as an insight into the neutron single-particle wave function via the nuclear spin and magnetic moment.
Read the full article on Phys. Rev. Lett