Relativistic Abrasion–Ablation De-Excitation Fragmentation (RAADFRG) Model

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Physics and Astronomy


Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Astronauts are exposed to ionizing radiation that may pose significant health risks from missions to low Earth orbit (LEO) and beyond. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses the deterministic radiation transport code, High charge (Z) and Energy TRaNsport (HZETRN), to estimate particle fluxes inside shielded vehicles to evaluate risk of radiation exposure to crew members. Highly efficient radiation transport algorithms and cross section models are needed to perform calculations in realistic vehicles with complex geometrical configurations. The HZETRN code uses the NUClear FRaGmentation (NUCFRG) model to evaluate fragmentation cross section products from nucleus–nucleus collisions. Although highly efficient, the NUCFRG model has some limitations that are based on its unique implementation of the abrasion–ablation formalism. NUCFRG performs well in predicting fragmentation cross sections on the average when compared to experimental data; however, even–odd nuclear structure effects observed in laboratory measurements are absent. The aim of the present work is to formulate a self-consistent theory that produces accurate nuclear fragmentation cross sections while maintaining numerical efficiency. To that end, the Relativistic Abrasion–Ablation FRaGmentation (RAADFRG) model has been developed. The theoretical framework for nuclear interaction is multiple scattering theory (MST), where relativistic kinematics may be included in the momentum–space representation of the Lippmann–Schwinger equation. The nuclear abrasion model employs the Eikonal (Eik) approximation and is used to predict prefragment cross sections. A novel approach is utilized for the excitation energy of prefragment, where in addition to differences of binding energies between two nuclei, energy is transferred to the prefragment from subsequent multiple scattering of abraded nucleons with the spectator nucleon constituents of the prefragment. Next, the excited prefragment liberates particles through the nuclear ablation process, and a nuclear coalescence model that forms aggregate particles for each prefragment channel is included in the yield. The ElectroMagnetic Dissociation FRaGmentation (EMDFRG) model is also included for peripheral interactions that stimulates particle emission via nuclear-photon field interactions. When compared to NUCFRG3, uncertainty quantification analysis shows that RAADFRG is better able to predict experimental nuclear fragmentation cross sections. RAADFRG is also shown to produce the even–odd nuclear structure effects, which is achieved by modification of isospin pairing correction in the prefragment excitation energy model.

Publication Title

Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms



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