A Perspective on the Milky Way Bulge Bar as Seen from the Neutron-capture Elements Cerium and Neodymium with APOGEE

Sales-Silva, J. V.; Cunha, K.; Smith, V. V.; Daflon, S.; Souto, D.; Guerço, R.; Queiroz, A.; Chiappini, C.; Hayes, C. R.; Masseron, T.; Hasselquist, Sten; Horta, D.; Prantzos, N.; Zoccali, M.; Allende Prieto, C.; Barbuy, B.; Beaton, R.; Bizyaev, D.; Fernández-Trincado, J. G.; Frinchaboy, P. M.; Holtzman, J. A.; Johnson, J. A.; Jönsson, Henrik; Majewski, S. R.; Minniti, D.; Nidever, D. L.; Schiavon, R. P.; Schultheis, M.; Sobeck, J.; Stringfellow, G. S.; Zasowski, G.
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The Astrophysical Journal

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This study probes the chemical abundances of the neutron-capture elements cerium and neodymium in the inner Milky Way from an analysis of a sample of ∼2000 stars in the Galactic bulge bar spatially contained within ∣X Gal∣ < 5 kpc, ∣Y Gal∣ < 3.5 kpc, and ∣Z Gal∣ < 1 kpc, and spanning metallicities between ‑2.0 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ +0.5. We classify the sample stars into low- or high-[Mg/Fe] populations and find that, in general, values of [Ce/Fe] and [Nd/Fe] increase as the metallicity decreases for the low- and high-[Mg/Fe] populations. Ce abundances show a more complex variation across the metallicity range of our bulge-bar sample when compared to Nd, with the r-process dominating the production of neutron-capture elements in the high-[Mg/Fe] population ([Ce/Nd] < 0.0). We find a spatial chemical dependence of Ce and Nd abundances for our sample of bulge-bar stars, with low- and high-[Mg/Fe] populations displaying a distinct abundance distribution. In the region close to the center of the MW, the low-[Mg/Fe] population is dominated by stars with low [Ce/Fe], [Ce/Mg], [Nd/Mg], [Nd/Fe], and [Ce/Nd] ratios. The low [Ce/Nd] ratio indicates a significant contribution in this central region from r-process yields for the low-[Mg/Fe] population. The chemical pattern of the most metal-poor stars in our sample suggests an early chemical enrichment of the bulge dominated by yields from core-collapse supernovae and r-process astrophysical sites, such as magnetorotational supernovae.