The fragmentation of quasi-projectiles from the nuclear reaction Ca-40 + C-12 at 25 MeV/nucleon was used to produce excited states candidates to alpha-particle condensation. Complete kinematic characterization of individual decay events, made possible by a high-granularity 4 pi charged particle multi-detector, reveals that 7.5 +/- 4.0% of the particle decays of the Hoyle state correspond to direct decays in three equal-energy alpha-particles. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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