The nucleon-nucleon interaction is required for investigations of nuclear structure and reactions, as well as astrophysical models of nucleosynthesis. The traditional approach to low-energy nuclear physics is to treat nucleons as immutable objects interacting via phenomenological forces. The use of phenomenological interactions, rather than one derived from a microscopic theory, raises questions as to the reliability of predictions for exotic nuclei. The quark-meson coupling (QMC) model is a relativistic mean-field approach to the quantum many-body problem, providing a microscopically derived nucleon-nucleon interaction which takes into account the quark structure of the nucleon.
In this work, the QMC model is used to obtain a Skyrme energy density functional with only four parameters fitted on basic properties of nuclear matter. Hartree-Fock-Bogoliubov calculations for Sn and Pb isotopes and N = 126 isotones show that a Skyrme functional from the QMC model (SQMC) provides a comparable level of accuracy, in ground-state binding energies, to modern phenomenological functionals, particularly for nuclei away from stability. The region of superheavy elements is also studied, with the SQMC functional predicting the theorised ‘island of stability’ to be centred around N = 184, Z = 124.
We further investigate the isospin dependence of the interaction in the spin-orbit channel. The nuclear spin-orbit interaction is important for both structure and reactions, and can be microscopically derived from the relativistic QMC model.