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Decay and Fission Hindrance of Two- and Four-Quasiparticle K Isomers in ^{254}Rf.


Two isomers decaying by electromagnetic transitions with half-lives of 4.7(1.1) and 247(73) μs have been discovered in the heavy ^{254}Rf nucleus. The observation of the shorter-lived isomer was made possible by a novel application of a digital data acquisition system. The isomers were interpreted as the K^{π}=8^{-}, ν^{2}(7/2^{+}[624],9/2^{-}[734]) two-quasineutron and the K^{π}=16^{+}, 8^{-}ν^{2}(7/2^{+}[624],9/2^{-}[734])⊗8^{-}π^{2}(7/2^{-}[514],9/2^{+}[624]) four-quasiparticle configurations, respectively. Surprisingly, the lifetime of the two-quasiparticle isomer is more than 4 orders of magnitude shorter than what has been observed for analogous isomers in the lighter N=150 isotones. The four-quasiparticle isomer is longer lived than the ^{254}Rf ground state that decays exclusively by spontaneous fission with a half-life of 23.2(1.1) μs. The absence of sizable fission branches from either of the isomers implies unprecedented fission hindrance relative to the ground state.

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