Super heavy nuclei provide opportunities to study nuclear structure near three simultaneous limits: in charge Z, spin I and excitation energy E∗. These nuclei exist only because of a fission barrier, created by shell effects. It is therefore important to determine the fission barrier and its spin dependence Bf(I), which gives information on the shell energy Eshell(I). Theoretical calculations predict different fission barrier heights from Bf(I = 0) = 6.8 MeV for a macro-microscopic model to 8.7 MeV for Density Functional Theory calculations using the Gogny or Skyrme interactions. Hence, a measurement of Bf provides a test for theories.To investigate the fission barrier, an established method is to measure the rise of fission with excitation energy, characterized by the ratio of decay widths Γfission/Γtotal, using transfer reactions. However, for heavy elements such as 254No, there is no suitable target for a transfer reaction. We therefore rely on the complementary decay widths ratio Γγ/Γfission and its spin dependence, deduced from the entry distribution (I, E∗).Measurements of the gamma-ray multiplicity and total energy for 254No have been performed with beam energies of 219 and 223 MeV in the reaction 208Pb(48Ca,2n) at ATLAS (Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System). The 254No gamma rays were detected using the Gammasphere array as a calorimeter - as well as the usual high resolution γ-ray detector. Coincidences with evaporation residues at the Fragment Mass Analyzer focal plane separated 254No gamma rays from those from fission fragments, which are > 10^6 more intense. From this measurement, the entry distribution - i.e. the initial distribution of I and E∗ - is constructed. Each point (I,E∗) of the entry distribution is a point where gamma decay wins over fission and, therefore, gives information on the fission barrier.The measured entry distributions show an increase in the maximum spin and excitation energy from 219 to 223 MeV of beam energy. The distributions show a saturation of E∗ for high spins. The saturation is attributed to the fact that, as E∗ increases above the saddle, Γfission rapidly dominates. The resulting truncation of the entry distribution at high E∗ allows a determination of the fission barrier height.The experimental entry distributions are also compared with entry distributions calculated with decay cascade codes which take into account the full nucleus formation process, including the capture process and the subsequent survival probability as a function of E∗ and I. We used the KEWPIE2 and NRV codes to simulate the entry distribution. |