Single neutron transfer on 23Ne and its relevance for the pathway of nucleosynthesis in astrophysical X-ray bursts

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We present new experimental measurements of resonance strengths in the astrophysical 23Al(p,γ)24Si reaction, constraining the pathway of nucleosynthesis beyond 22Mg in X-ray burster scenarios. Specifically, we have performed the first measurement of the (d,p) reaction using a radioactive beam of 23Ne to explore levels in 24Ne, the mirror analog of 24Si. Four strong single-particle states were observed and corresponding neutron spectroscopic factors were extracted with a precision of ∼20%. Using these spectroscopic factors, together with mirror state identifications, we have reduced uncertainties in the strength of the key ℓ = 0 resonance at Er = 157 keV, in the astrophysical 23Al(p,γ) reaction, by a factor of 4. Our results show that the 22Mg(p,γ)23Al(p,γ) pathway dominates over the competing 22Mg(α,p) reaction in all but the most energetic X-ray burster events (T>0.85 GK), significantly affecting energy production and the preservation of hydrogen fuel.