Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)

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The astrophysical origin of heavy Z elements remains an open question. Spectroscopy of neutron star merger ejecta provides a new opportunity to directly probe regions where heavy elements may be forming, specifically as a result of active r-process nucleosynthesis. However, the comparable laboratory and/or theoretical atomic data are not available for even low charge states of these elements for comparison. In this work, we present experimental and theoretical investigations on the electronic structure of Au I, Au II, and Au III. Using the Compact Toroidal Hybrid plasma apparatus at Auburn University, we ablate and excite neutral Au and report line lists for Au I, Au II, and Au III. Future work includes comparable spectroscopy on the near-by heavy elements Re, Os, Ir, and Pt at both the Compact Toroidal Hybrid and the Clemson University Electron Beam Ion Trap.