Neutron-upscattering enhancement of the triple-alpha process featuring Jack Bishop (Texas A&M University) (Opens in a new window)



Carbon is produced is stars mainly via the triple-alpha process where three helium nuclei fuse to form an excited state of carbon-12 known as the Hoyle state. This is a nuclear resonance (an excited form of a nucleus) that has properties that guide the rate that the triple alpha process takes place. Primarily, the key property is how often the Hoyle state is able to lose energy and end up in the ground state of carbon-12 – known as the radiative width.