A previously unknown nuclear phenomenon has been
observed by an international collaboration of physicists.
They found that the energy released from a nucleus relaxing
to a lower energy state can be used to excite an orbiting
electron into a higher energy state.
Carreyre and co-workers found that the new process is
strongly "resonant". A small increase in the atomic excitation
energy can produce a large variation in the half-life and in the
rate of nuclear decay. Interestingly, the effect is exactly the
reverse of a process recently observed, by Kishimoto et al.,
in which the nucleus is excited by a near-resonant electron transition.
Then energy can pass "resonantly" between the nuclear and
electrons by a process similar to that which operates between
an inductor and a capacitor in an LC circuit.
The phenomenon may have important implications for astrophysics.
Plasmas inside stars contain nuclear species whose lifetimes may
be affected by the process.
[It is possible to store high energies in the nucleus,
between narrow levels? Then shoot a lot of high energy photons,
of the same frequency? ... A powerful nuclear laser]
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