We investigate heavy-ion multinucleon transfer reactions using the coupled-channels formalism. We first use the semiclassical approximation and show that a direct coupling between the entrance and the pair transfer channels improves a fit to the experimental one- and two-neutron transfer cross sections for the Ca40+Zr96 and Ni60+Sn116 systems. We then discuss the validity of the perturbative approach and highlight the effect of high-order terms. The effect of absorption is also investigated for energies around the Coulomb barrier. Finally, we use a quantal coupled-channels approach to achieve a simultaneous description of the fusion cross sections and the transfer probabilities for the Ca40+Zr96 reaction. We find a significant effect of the couplings to the collective excited states on the transfer probabilities around the Coulomb barrier.
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