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How does one define Nuclear Harmonicity?

Although the title is pretty much the entire case, the main question is, what exactly is "harmonicity" in terms of nuclear physics? What does it mean for a nucleus to be quasi-harmonic or nearly-harmonic? Is it perhaps in the sense that it approaches a harmonic oscillator, and if so, what's the intuition behind this?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Guillermo Angeris: Do you have a reference? Where did you read the term? $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jul 9 '13 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ I don't quite understand your question, @Qmechanic. $\endgroup$ – Guillermo Angeris Jul 10 '13 at 13:19
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Without more input on your part I will refer you to the shell model of nuclear physics:

In order to get these numbers, the nuclear shell model starts from an average potential with a shape something between the square well and the harmonic oscillator. To this potential a spin orbit term is added. Even so, the total perturbation does not coincide with experiment, and an empirical spin orbit coupling, named the Nilsson Term, must be added with at least two or three different values of its coupling constant, depending on the nuclei being studied.

Nevertheless, the magic numbers of nucleons, as well as other properties, can be arrived at by approximating the model with a three-dimensional harmonic oscillator plus a spin-orbit interaction.

Nuclei that are well described by this model, with the magic number of nucleons, might be characterized with the "harmonic" adjective (or quasi-harmonic etc).

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that was simple. Didn't think there was a purely phenomenological reason for this, thought it was more specific, but thanks. $\endgroup$ – Guillermo Angeris Jul 9 '13 at 19:23

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