57Zn β-delayed proton emission establishes the 56Ni rp-process waiting point bypass

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Type-1 X-ray bursts, Waiting-point, β-decay measurement of proton rich isotope


We measured the Zn57 β-delayed proton (βp) and γ emission at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. We find a Zn57 half-life of 43.6±0.2 ms, βp branching ratio of (84.7±1.4)%, and identify four transitions corresponding to the exotic β-γ-p decay mode, the second such identification in the fp-shell. The p/γ ratio was used to correct for isospin mixing while determining the Zn57 mass via the isobaric multiplet mass equation. Previously, it was uncertain as to whether the rp-process flow could bypass the textbook waiting point Ni56 for astrophysical conditions relevant to Type-I X-ray bursts. Our results definitively establish the existence of the Ni56 bypass, with 14-17% of the rp-process flow taking this route.