Two-particle separation energies in the superdeformed well
The location of nuclear closed shells, as evidenced through discontinuities in binding energy and one- and two-particle separation energy systematics, remains one of the simplest tests of global nuclear models. How shell gaps evolve, whether with increasing mass, increasing neutron:proton ratio or increasing deformation, is still uncertain, and it has recently been suggested that one must go beyond a static meanfield picture to include the effects of dynamic fluctuations in the nuclear shape even in the ground state. The identification of key properties which may distinguish between competing approaches is thus vital. Comparison of the binding energies of superdeformed nuclei in the A 190 region shows that two-proton separation energies are higher in the superdeformed state than in the normal state, despite the probably lower Coulomb barrier and lower total binding energy. Possible reasons for this difference are discussed. This somewhat counterintuitive result provide s a critical test for global nuclear models.