Kristina LauneyLauney

Associate Professor

Ph.D., 2003 - Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University
Department of Physics & Astronomy
211B Nicholson Hall, Tower Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4001

Personal Web Page

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Theoretical nuclear physics and astrophysics

My main research focuses on strong interaction physics ranging from modeling atomic nuclei from first principles (or "ab initio"), through electroweak- and strong-interaction driven nuclear reactions, to further understanding the nuclear interaction from the underlying foundation of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). Indeed, how the strong force bonds protons and neutrons into a plethora of nuclei is still not well understood, and presents a foremost challenge. The reason is that modeling the nucleus from first principles, which holds predictive power, is a computationally intense task and faces the difficulty, first, of strong interactions that prohibit perturbative treatments and, second, of accounting for emergent phenomena. Our research addresses some of these challenges by taking advantage of symmetries that dominate the many-body nuclear dynamics, inter-nucleon interaction and its effective counterparts in nuclear medium. It targets two overarching goals:

  • Fundamentals of nuclear physics, namely, further advancing our knowledge of the complex nuclear structure and probing fundamental properties of the inter-nucleon interaction;
  • Applications to nuclei-driven processes in nature, including nuclear structure and reactions of importance to astrophysics, neutrino physics and energy-related applied physics.

Recent studies include: no-core symplectic shell model (NCSpM) for large deformation and alpha-cluster substructures exemplified by the challenging Hoyle state in 12C; symmetry-adapted no-core shell model (SA-NCSM) for ab initio nuclear structure with its first reach of intermediate-mass nuclei (isotopes of Ne, Mg, Al, and Si); spectral distribution theory (SDT) for effective interactions and for level densities needed as input to nuclear reactions for medium-mass nuclei above 56Ni; similarity renormalization group (SRG) for effective interactions; R-matrix coupled-channel method (CCM) for nuclear reactions, such as proton-capture reactions of importance to Ne-Na/Mg-Al chains in AGB stars and X-ray burst nucleosynthesis; electron and neutrino scattering; exact pairing of importance to density functional theory studies; quantum information applications with a focus on Shannon and von Neumann entropies of nuclear systems; group-theoretical approaches involving symplectic Sp(3,R) & Sp(2) groups and SU(3) group.

Launey research poster

Current and Select Publications

  • A. C. Dreyfuss, K. D. Launey, T. Dytrych, J. P. Draayer, and C. Bahri, "Hoyle state and rotational features in Carbon-12 within a no-core shell-model framework", Phys. Lett. B 727 (2013) 163; doi: Article.
  • T. Dytrych, K. D. Launey, J. P. Draayer, P. Maris, J. P. Vary, E. Saule, U. Catalyurek, M. Sosonkina, D. Langr, and M. A. Caprio, "Collective Modes in Light Nuclei from First Principles", Phys. Rev. Lett. 111 (2013) 252501; Article.
  • G. K. Tobin, M. C. Ferriss, K. D. Launey, T. Dytrych, J. P. Draayer, A. C. Dreyfuss, and C. Bahri, "Symplectic No-core Shell-model Approach to Intermediate-mass Nuclei", Phys. Rev. C 89 (2014) 034312; Article.
  • K. D. Launey, S. Sarbadhicary, T. Dytrych, and J. P. Draayer, "Program in C for studying characteristic properties of two-body interactions in the framework of spectral distribution theory", Comput. Phys. Commun. 185 (2014) 254. Program: Catalogue ID AEQG_v1_0; Article.
  • Xin Guan, Kristina D. Launey, Jianzhong Gu, Feng Pan, and J. P. Draayer, "Level statistical properties of the spherical mean-field plus standard pairing model", Phys. Rev. C 88 (2013) 044325; Article.
  • Tomas Dytrych, Kristina D. Launey, Jerry P. Draayer , in McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology 2014, "Symmetry-adapted no-core shell model" (2014); Article.