Abstract:
Isoscalar (T=0,J=1) and isovector (T=1,J=0) pairing correlations in the ground state of self-conjugate nuclei are treated in terms of alpha-like quartets built by two protons and two neutrons coupled to total isospin T=0 and total angular momentum J=0. Quartets are constructed dynamically via an iterative variational procedure and the ground state is represented as a product of such quartets. It is shown that the quartet formalism describes accurately the ground state energies of realistic isovector plus isoscalar pairing Hamiltonians in nuclei with valence particles outside the 16O, 40Ca and 100Sn cores. Within the quartet formalism we analyse the competition between isovector and isoscalar pairing correlations and find that for nuclei with the valence nucleons above the cores 40Ca and 100Sn the isovector correlations account for the largest fraction of the total pairing correlations. This is not the case for sd-shell nuclei for which isoscalar correlations prevail. Contrary to many mean-field studies, isovector and isoscalar pairing correlations mix significantly in the quartet approach.

Abstract:
The isoscalar proton-neutron pairing and isovector pairing, including both isovector proton-neutron pairing and like-particle pairing, are treated in a formalism which conserves exactly the particle number and the isospin. The formalism is designed for self-conjugate (N=Z) systems of nucleons moving in axially deformed mean fields and interacting through the most general isovector and isoscalar pairing interactions. The ground state of these systems is described by a superposition of two types of condensates, i.e., condensates of isovector quartets, built by two isovector pairs coupled to the total isospin T=0, and condensates of isoscalar proton-neutron pairs. The comparison with the exact solutions of realistic isovector-isoscalar pairing Hamiltonians shows that this ansatz for the ground state is able to describe with high precision the pairing correlation energies. It is also shown that, at variance with the majority of Hartree-Fock-Bogoliubov calculations, in the present formalism the isovector and isoscalar pairing correlations coexist for any pairing interactions. The competition between the isovector and isoscalar proton-neutron pairing correlations is studied for N=Z nuclei with the valence nucleons moving in the $sd$ and $pf$ shells and in the major shell above $^{100}$Sn. We find that in these nuclei the isovector pairing prevail over the isoscalar pairing, especially for heavier nuclei. However, the isoscalar proton-neutron correlations are significant in all nuclei and they always coexist with the isovector pairing correlations.

Abstract:
We propose a simple quartet condensation model (QCM) which describes with very high accuracy the isovector pairing correlations in self-conjugate nuclei. The quartets have an alpha-like structure and are formed by collective isovector pairs. The accuracy of the QCM is tested for N=Z nuclei for which exact shell model diagonalizations can be performed. The calculations are done with two isovector pairing forces, one extracted from standard shell model interactions and the other of seniority type, acting, respectively, upon spherical and axially-deformed single-particle states. It is shown that for all calculated nuclei the QCM gives very accurate values for the pairing correlations energies, with errors which do not exceed 1%. These results show clearly that the correlations induced by the isovector pairing in self-conjugate nuclei are of quartet type and also indicate that QCM is the proper tool to calculate the isovector proton-neutron correlations in mean field pairing models.

Abstract:
We analyze the role of maximally aligned isoscalar pairs in heavy $N=Z$ nuclei by employing a formalism of quartets. Quartets are superpositions of two neutrons and two protons coupled to total isospin $T=0$ and given $J$. The study is focused on the contribution of spin-aligned pairs carrying the angular momentum $J=9$ to the structure of $^{96}$Cd and $^{92}$Pd. We show that the role played by the $J=9$ pairs is quite sensitive to the model space and, in particular, it decreases considerably by passing from the simple $0g_{9/2}$ space to the more complete $1p_{1/2}$,$1p_{3/2}$,$0f_{5/2}$,$0g_{9/2}$ space. In the latter case the description of these nuclei in terms of only spin-aligned $J=9$ pairs turns out to be unsatisfactory while an important contribution, particularly in the ground state, is seen to arise from isovector $J=0$ and isoscalar $J=1$ pairs. Thus, contrary to previous studies, we find no compelling evidence of a spin-aligned pairing phase in $^{92}$Pd.

Abstract:
We study the isoscalar (T=0) and isovector (T=1) pairing correlations in N=Z nuclei. They are estimated from the double difference of binding energies for odd-odd N=Z nuclei and the odd-even mass difference for the neighboring odd-mass nuclei, respectively. The empirical and BCS calculations based on a T=0 and T=1 pairing model reproduce well the almost degeneracy of the lowest T=0 and T=1 states over a wide range of even-even and odd-odd N=Z nuclei. It is shown that this degeneracy is attributed to competition between the isoscalar and isovector pairing correlations in N=Z nuclei. The calculations give an interesting prediction that the odd-odd N=Z nucleus 82Nb has possibly the ground state with T=0.

Abstract:
We use shell model techniques in the complete pf shell to study pair correlations in nuclei. Particular attention is paid to the competition of isoscalar and isovector proton-neutron pairing modes which is investigated in the odd-odd N=Z nucleus 46V and in the chain of even Fe-isotopes. We confirm the dominance of isovector pairing in the ground states. An inspection of the level density and pair correlation strength in 46V, however, shows the increasing relative importance of isoscalar correlations with increasing excitation energy. In the Fe-isotopes we find the expected strong dependence of the isovector pairing strength on the neutron excess, while the dominant J=1 isoscalar pair correlations scale much more gently with neutron number. We demonstrate that the isoscalar pair correlations depend strongly on the spin-orbit splitting.

Abstract:
A systematic investigation of the rotating $N=Z$ even-even nuclei in the mass $A=58-80$ region has been performed within the frameworks of the Cranked Relativistic Mean field, Cranked Relativistic Hartree Bogoliubov theories and cranked Nilsson-Strutinsky approach. Most of the experimental data is well accounted for in the calculations. The present study suggests that there is strong isovector $np$-pair field at low spin, the strength of which is defined by the isospin symmetry. At high spin, the isovector pair field is destroyed and the data are well described by the calculations assuming zero pairing. No clear evidence for the existence of the isoscalar $t=0$ $np$-pairing has been obtained in the present investigation.

Abstract:
A simple model based on the group SO(5) suggests that both the like-particle and neutron-proton components of isovector pairing correlations in odd-A nuclei are Pauli blocked. The same effect emerges from Monte Carlo Shell-model calculations of proton-rich nuclei in the full fp shell. There are small differences between the two models in their representation of the effects of an odd nucleon on the competition between like-particle and neutron-proton pairing, but they can be understood and reduced by using a two-level version of the SO(5) model. On the other hand, in odd-odd nuclei with N not equal to Z SO(5) disagrees more severely with the shell model because it incorrectly predicts ground-state isospins. The shell model calculations for any fp-shell nuclei can be extended to finite temperature, where they show a decrease in blocking.

Abstract:
The ground state correlations induced by a general pairing Hamiltonian in a finite system of like fermions are described in terms of four-body correlated structures (quartets). These are real superpositions of products of two pairs of particles in time-reversed states. Quartets are determined variationally through an iterative sequence of diagonalizations of the Hamiltonian in restricted model spaces and are, in principle, all distinct from one another. The ground state is represented as a product of quartets to which, depending on the number of particles (supposed to be even, in any case), an extra collective pair is added. The extra pair is also determined variationally. In case of pairing in a spherically symmetric mean field, both the quartets and the extra pair (if any) are characterized by a total angular momentum J=0. Realistic applications of the quartet formalism are carried out for the Sn isotopes with the valence neutrons in the 50-82 neutron shell. Exact ground state correlation energies, occupation numbers and pair transfer matrix elements are reproduced to a very high degree of precision. The formalism also lends itself to a straightforward and accurate description of the lowest seniority 0 and 2 excited states of the pairing Hamiltonian. A simplified representation of the ground state as a product of identical quartets is eventually discussed and found to improve considerably upon the more traditional particle-number projected-BCS approach.