Towards a self-consistent dynamical nuclear model

Are nuclear models as versatile as we would like in the new era of Radioactive Beam  Facilities?

Xavier group photo

From the left to the right and from the front to the back: X. Roca-Maza, G. Colo’, Y. F. Niu, M. Brenna (former PhD student) and D. Rizzo (former Master student).

Nuclei are among the most challenging systems to accurately describe in physics. They are made from few to more than two hundred strongly interacting and self-bound fermions showing wide spectrum of phenomena such as superfluidity, shape phase transitions, collective dynamics or quantum chaos. The complexity of the nuclear many-body problem is essentially twofold. First, the residual strong interaction between nucleons has not been derived yet from first principles as QCD is highly non-perturbative at the low-energies relevant for the description of nuclei. Secondly, due to the difficulty of theoretically and computationally treat and deciding which is the best many-body approach to be used.


One of the alternatives to overcome part of these difficulties is inspired by Density Functional Theory rooted on the Hohenberg-Kohn theorems. The advantage of this approximation is that it is quite versatile: it constitutes nowadays our unique tool to self-consistently access the ground state and some excited state properties of atomic nuclei — all those that have been measured in the past and that will be measured in the next future in Rare Ion Beam Facilities worldwide. This framework is, however not suitable for the study of single-particle dynamics in nuclei. Proof of that is the experimental evidence on the fragmentation of single-particle states or on the finite width (of some MeV) in nuclear giant resonance. To address this problem, we, among others, have adopted an approach based on the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei that has been shown to be successful in describing a variety of nuclear phenomena, yet some important issues remain to be solved. One of these issues is the need to better understand how to renormalize the theory. In this contribution, the subtraction method has been implemented and its consequences and suitability studied.

About the Authors

Xavier Roca-Maza is assistant professor at the University of Milan since 2013. He gained his PhD in Physics in 2010 at the University of Barcelona.


Yi-Fei Niu is a researcher at the ELI-NP, Horia Hulubei National Institute for Physics and Nuclear Engineering (Rumania) since 2016. She gained her PhD in 2012  at Peking University.


Gianluca Colo’ is full professor at the University of  Milan since 2017. He gained his PhD in 1992 at the University of Milan.


Pier Francesco Bortignon is full professor at the University of Milan since 2000. He gained his Degree in Physics in 1972 at the University of Padova.

Towards a self-consistent dynamical nuclear model

X Roca-Maza, Y F Niu, G Colò and P F Bortignon J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys 43 044002

belongs to the special issue: Emerging Leaders, which features invited work from the best early-career researchers working within the scope of J. Phys. G. This project is part of the Journal of Physics series’ 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017. Xavier Roca-Maza was selected by the Editorial Board of J. Phys. G as an Emerging Leader.

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Categories: Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, JPhys+


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