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2006ApJ...644..229A - Astrophys. J., 644, 229-259 (2006/June-2)

Lithium isotopic abundances in metal-poor halo stars.


Abstract (from CDS):

Very high quality spectra of 24 metal-poor halo dwarfs and subgiants have been acquired with ESO's VLT/UVES for the purpose of determining Li isotopic abundances. The derived one-dimensional, non-LTE ^ 7^Li abundances from the Li I 670.8 nm line reveal a pronounced dependence on metallicity but with negligible scatter around this trend. Very good agreement is found between the abundances from the Li I 670.8 nm line and the Li I 610.4 nm line. The estimated primordial ^ 7^Li abundance is 7Li/H=(1.1-1.5)x10–10, which is a factor of 3-4 lower than predicted from standard big bang nucleosynthesis with the baryon density inferred from the cosmic microwave background. Interestingly, 6Li is detected in 9 of our 24 stars at the ≥2 σ significance level. Our observations suggest the existence of a ^ 6^Li plateau at the level of logε6^Li_~0.8; however, taking into account predictions for 6Li destruction during the pre-main-sequence evolution tilts the plateau such that the 6Li abundances apparently increase with metallicity. Our most noteworthy result is the detection of 6Li in the very metal-poor star LP 815-43. Such a high 6Li abundance during these early Galactic epochs is very difficult to achieve by Galactic cosmic-ray spallation and α-fusion reactions. It is concluded that both Li isotopes have a pre-Galactic origin. Possible 6Li production channels include protogalactic shocks and late-decaying or annihilating supersymmetric particles during the era of big bang nucleosynthesis. The presence of 6Li limits the possible degree of stellar ^ 7^Li depletion and thus sharpens the discrepancy with standard big bang nucleosynthesis.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Cosmology: Early Universe - Galaxy: Evolution - Stars: Abundances - Stars: Atmospheres - Stars: Population II

Simbad objects: 31

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