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Strongly deformed nuclear shapes at ultra-high spin and shape coexistence in N ∼ 90 nuclei

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The N ∼ 90 region of the nuclear chart has featured prominently as the spectroscopy of nuclei at extreme spin has progressed. This talk will present recent discoveries from investigations of high spin behavior in the N ∼ 90 Er, Tm and Yb nuclei utilizing the Gammasphere gamma-ray spectrometer. In particular it will include discussion of the beautiful shape evolution and coexistence observed in these nuclei along with the identification of a remarkable new family of band structures. The latter are very weakly populated rotational sequences with high moment of inertia that bypass the classic terminating configurations near spin 40-50h{stroke}, marking a return to collectivity that extends discrete γ-ray spectroscopy to well over 60h{stroke}. Establishing the nature of the yrast states in these nuclei beyond the oblate band-termination states has been a major goal for the past two decades. Cranking calculations suggest that these new structures most likely represent stable triaxial strongly deformed bands that lie in a valley of favored shell energy in deformation and particle-number space.

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