Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1303.4283 (H. R. Jacobson et al.)

Zirconium, Barium, Lanthanum and Europium Abundances in Open Clusters    [PDF]

H. R. Jacobson, E. D. Friel
We present an analysis of the s-process elements Zr, Ba, and La and the r-process element Eu in a sample of 50 stars in 19 open clusters. Stellar abundances of each element are based on measures of a minimum of two lines per species via both equivalent width and spectrum synthesis techniques. We investigate cluster mean neutron-capture abundance trends as a function of cluster age and location in the Milky Way disk and compare them to results found in other studies in the literature. We find a statistically significant trend of increasing cluster [Ba/Fe] as a function of decreasing cluster age, in agreement with recent findings for other open cluster samples, supporting the increased importance of low-mass asymptotic giant branch stars to the generation of s-process elements. However, the other s-process elements, [La/Fe] and [Zr/Fe], do not show similar dependences, in contrast to theoretical expectations and the limited observational data from other studies. Conversely, cluster [Eu/Fe] ratios show a slight increase with increasing cluster age, although with marginal statistical significance. Ratios of [s/r]-process abundances, [Ba/Eu] and [La/Eu], however, show more clearly the increasing efficiency of s-process relative to r-process enrichment in open cluster chemical evolution, with significant increases among younger clusters. Last, cluster neutron-capture element abundances appear to be independent of Galactocentric distance. We conclude that a homogeneous analysis of a larger sample of open clusters is needed to resolve the apparent discrepant conclusions between different studies regarding s-process element abundance trends with age to better inform models of galactic chemical evolution.
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