The thesis will focus on the experimental study of the nuulear properties of the heaviest stable zirconium isotope (96Zr).
Recently, observation of a low-lying deformed state in this magic nucleus has been explained by a reorganization of nuclear shells in function of their occupation by protons and neutrons. These sophisticated nuclear-structure calculations predict a variety of shapes, both ellipsoidal and pear-like, to appear at low excitation energy in the 96Zr nucleus. We will investigate them using the powerful Coulomb-excitation technique, which is the most direct method to determine the shapes of nuclei in their excited states. The experiment will be performed using AGATA, a new-generation gamma-ray spectrometer, consisting of a large number of finely segmented germanium crystals, which allows us to identify each point where a gamma ray interacts with the detector material and then, using the so-called “gamma-ray tracking” concept, to reconstruct the energies of all emitted gamma rays and their angles of emission with highest precision. A complementary measurement will be performed at TRIUMF (Vancouver, Canada) using the world’s leading setup for beta-decay measurements called GRIFFIN. This project is a part of an extensive experimental program on shape coexistence and evolution of nuclear shapes undertaken by our group.