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Galactic evolution of 7Li

  • Francesca Matteucci (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Lithium represents a key element in cosmology, as it is one of the few nuclei synthesized during the Big Bang. The primordial abundance of 7Li allows us to impose constraints on the primordial nucleosynthesis and on the baryon density of the universe. However, 7Li is not only produced during the Big Bang but also during galactic evolution: measures of stellar Li in our Galaxy suggest an almost constant Li abundance (the so-called Spite plateau) at low metallicities and a subsequent increase in the disk stars, leading to a Li abundance in Population I stars higher by a factor of ten than in Population II stars. This means that there must exist several possible stellar sources of 7Li: asymptotic giant branch stars, supernovae, novae, red giant stars. 7Li is also partly produced in spallation processes while 6Li is entirely produced by such processes. All of these sources have been included in galactic chemical evolution models and constraints have been derived on the primordial 7Li and its evolution, as well on stellar models. I will review these models and their results and what we have learned about 7Li evolution. Some still open problems, such as the disagreement between the primordial 7Li abundance as derived by WMAP and as measured in Population II stars, and the uncertainties about the main sources of stellar 7Li will be discussed.

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Galactic evolution of 7Li

  • Francesca Matteucci (a1) (a2)

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