Indexed on: 17 Jul '12Published on: 17 Jul '12Published in: Nuclear Theory
Background: Recent experiments on beta-delayed fission in the mercury-lead region and the discovery of asym- metric fission in 180 Hg  have stimulated theoretical interest in the mechanism of fission in heavy nuclei. Purpose: We study fission modes and fusion valleys in 180 Hg and 198 Hg to reveal the role of shell effects in pre-scission region and explain the experimentally observed fragment mass asymmetry and its variation with A. Methods: We use the self-consistent nuclear density functional theory employing Skyrme and Gogny energy density functionals. Results: The potential energy surfaces in multi-dimensional space of collective coordinates, including elongation, triaxiality, reflection-asymmetry, and necking, are calculated for 180 Hg and 198 Hg. The asymmetric fission valleys - well separated from fusion valleys associated with nearly spherical fragments - are found in in both cases. The density distributions at scission configurations are studied and related to the experimentally observed mass splits. Conclusions: The energy density functionals SkM\ast and D1S give a very consistent description of the fission process in 180 Hg and 198 Hg. We predict a transition from asymmetric fission in 180 Hg towards more symmetric distribution of fission fragments in 198 Hg. For 180 Hg, both models yield 100 Ru/80 Kr as the most probable split. For 198 Hg, the most likely split is 108 Ru/90 Kr in HFB-D1S and 110 Ru/88 Kr in HFB-SkM\ast.