Abstract:
Recent Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) measurements have determined the baryon density of the Universe $\Omega_b$ with a precision of about 4%. With $\Omega_b$ tightly constrained, comparisons of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN) abundance predictions to primordial abundance observations can be made and used to test BBN models and/or to further constrain abundances of isotopes with weak observational limits. To push the limits and improve constraints on BBN models, uncertainties in key nuclear reaction rates must be minimized. To this end, we made new precise measurements of the d(d,p)t and d(d,n)^3He total cross sections at lab energies from 110 keV to 650 keV. A complete fit was performed in energy and angle to both angular distribution and normalization data for both reactions simultaneously. By including parameters for experimental variables in the fit, error correlations between detectors, reactions, and reaction energies were accurately tabulated by computational methods. With uncertainties around 2% +/- 1% scale error, these new measurements significantly improve on the existing data set. At relevant temperatures, using the data of the present work, both reaction rates are found to be about 7% higher than those in the widely used Nuclear Astrophysics Compilation of Reaction Rates (NACRE). These data will thus lead not only to reduced uncertainties, but also to modifications in the BBN abundance predictions.

Abstract:
Angular Distributions for the target spin-dependent observables A$_{0y}$, A$_{xx}$, and A$_{yy}$ have been measured using polarized proton beams at several energies between 2 and 6 MeV and a spin-exchange optical pumping polarized $^3$He target. These measurements have been included in a global phase-shift analysis following that of George and Knutson, who reported two best-fit phase-shift solutions to the previous global p+$^3$He elastic scattering database below 12 MeV. These new measurements, along with measurements of cross-section and beam-analyzing power made over a similar energy range by Fisher \textit{et al.}, allowed a single, unique solution to be obtained. The new measurements and phase-shifts are compared with theoretical calculations using realistic nucleon-nucleon potential models.

Abstract:
The three-nucleon system is studied at energies a few hundred keV above the N-d threshold. Measurements of the tensor analyzing powers $T_{20}$ and $T_{21}$ for p-d elastic scattering at $E_{c.m.}=432$ keV are presented together with the corresponding theoretical predictions. The calculations are extended to very low energies since they are useful for extracting the p-d scattering lengths from the experimental data. The interaction considered here is the Argonne V18 potential plus the Urbana three-nucleon potential. The calculation of the asymptotic D- to S-state ratio for $^3$H and $^3$He, for which recent experimental results are available, is also presented.

Abstract:
The 48Ca({\gamma},n) cross section was measured using {\gamma}-ray beams of energies between 9.5 and 15.3 MeV generated at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) high-intensity {\gamma}-ray source (HI{\gamma}S). Prior to this experiment, no direct measurements had been made with {\gamma}-ray beams of sufficiently low energy spread to observe structure in this energy range. The cross sections were measured at thirty-four different {\gamma}-ray energies with an enriched 48Ca target. Neutron emission is the dominant decay mechanism in the measured energy range that spans from threshold, across the previously identified M1 strength, and up the low-energy edge of the E1 giant dipole resonance (GDR). This work found B(M 1) = 6.8 \pm 0.5 {\mu}N2 for the 10.23 MeV resonance, a value greater than previously measured. Structures in the cross section commensurate with extended random-phase approximation (ERPA) calculations have also been observed whose magnitudes are in agreement with existing data.

Abstract:
A neutron counter designed for assay of radioactive materials has been adapted for beam experiments at TUNL. The cylindrical geometry and 60% maximum efficiency make it well suited for ($\gamma,n$) cross-section measurements near the neutron emission threshold. A high precision characterization of the counter has been made using neutrons from several sources. Using a combination of measurements and simulations, the absolute detection efficiency of the neutron counter was determined to an accuracy of $\pm$ 3% in the neutron energy range between 0.1 and 1 MeV. It is shown that this efficiency characterization is generally valid for a wide range of targets.

Abstract:
Models of the r-process are sensitive to the production rate of 9Be because, in explosive environments rich in neutrons, alpha(alpha n,gamma)9Be is the primary mechanism for bridging the stability gaps at A=5 and A=8. The alpha(alpha n,gamma)9Be reaction represents a two-step process, consisting of alpha+alpha -> 8Be followed by 8Be(n,gamma)9Be. We report here on a new absolute cross section measurement for the 9Be(gamma,n)8Be reaction conducted using a highly-efficient, 3He-based neutron detector and nearly-monoenergetic photon beams, covering energies from E_gamma = 1.5 MeV to 5.2 MeV, produced by the High Intensity gamma-ray Source of Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory. In the astrophysically important threshold energy region, the present cross sections are 40% larger than those found in most previous measurements and are accurate to +/- 10% (95% confidence). The revised thermonuclear alpha(alpha n,gamma)9Be reaction rate could have implications for the r-process in explosive environments such as Type II supernovae.

Abstract:
We present measurements of the analyzing powers Ay and iT11 for proton-deuteron scattering at Ecm=432 keV. Calculations using a realistic nucleon-nucleon potential (Argonne V18) are found to underpredict both analyzing powers by 40. The inclusion of the Urbana three-nucleon interaction does not significantly modify the calculated analyzing powers. Due to its short range, it is difficult for this three-nucleon interaction to affect Ay and iT11 at this low energy. The origin of the discrepancy remains an open question.

Abstract:
We present measurements of differential cross sections and the analyzing powers A_y, iT11, T20, T21, and T22 at E_c.m.=431.3 keV. In addition, an excitation function of iT11(theta_c.m.=87.8 degrees) for 431.3 <= E_c.m. <= 2000 keV is presented. These data are compared to calculations employing realistic nucleon-nucleon interactions, both with and without three-nucleon forces. Excellent agreement with the tensor analyzing powers and cross section is found, while the Ay and iT11 data are found to be underpredicted by the calculations.

Abstract:
Angular distributions of sigma(theta), A_y, iT_11, T_20, T_21, and T_22 have been measured for d-p scattering at E_c.m.=667 keV. This set of high-precision data is compared to variational calculations with the nucleon-nucleon potential alone and also to calculations including a three-nucleon (3N) potential. Agreement with cross-section and tensor analyzing power data is excellent when a 3N potential is used. However, a comparison between the vector analyzing powers reveals differences of approximately 40% in the maxima of the angular distributions which is larger than reported at higher energies for both p-d and n-d scattering. Single-energy phase-shift analyses were performed on this data set and a similar data set at E_c.m.=431.3 keV. The role of the different phase-shift parameters in fitting these data is discussed.

Abstract:
A new measurement of the p-d differential cross section at Ep= 1 MeV has been performed. These new data and older data sets at energies below the deuteron breakup are compared to calculations using the two-nucleon Argonne v18 and the three-nucleon Urbana IX potentials. A quantitative estimate of the capability of these interactions to describe the data is given in terms of a chi^2 analysis. The chi^2 per datum drastically improves when the three-nucleon interaction is included in the Hamiltonian.