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In order to fully understand the new state of matter formed in heavy ion collisions, it is vital to isolate the always present final state hadronic contributions within the primary Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) experimental signatures. Previously, the hadronic contributions were determined using the properties of the known mesons and baryons. However, according to Hagedorn, hadrons should follow an exponential mass spectrum, which the known hadrons follow only up to masses of M = 2 GeV. Beyond this point the mass spectrum is flat, which indicates that there are "missing" hadrons, that could potentially contribute significantly to experimental observables. In this thesis I investigate the influence of these "missing" Hagedorn states on various experimental signatures of QGP. Strangeness enhancement is considered a signal for QGP because hadronic interactions (even including multi-mesonic reactions) underpredict the hadronic yields (especially for strange particles) at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, RHIC. One can conclude that the time scales to produce the required amount of hadronic yields are too long to allow for the hadrons to reach chemical equilibrium within the lifetime of a cooling hadronic fireball. Because gluon fusion can quickly produce strange quarks, it has been suggested that the hadrons are born into chemical equilibrium following the Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) phase transition. However, we show here that the missing Hagedorn states provide extra degrees of freedom that can contribute to fast chemical equilibration times for a hadron gas. We develop a dynamical scheme in which possible Hagedorn states contribute to fast chemical equilibration times of X X pairs (where X = p, K, Lambda, or Omega) inside a hadron gas and just below the critical temperature. Within this scheme, we use master equations and derive various analytical estimates for the chemical equilibration times. Applying a Bjorken picture to the expanding fireball, the hadrons can, indeed, quickly chemically equilibrate for both an initial overpopulation or underpopulation of Hagedorn resonances. We compare the thermodynamic properties of our model to recent lattice results and find that for both critical temperatures, Tc = 176 MeV and Tc = 196 MeV, the hadrons can reach chemical equilibrium on very short time scales. Furthermore the ratios p/pi, K/pi , Lambda/pi, and Omega/pi match experimental values well in our dynamical scenario. The effects of the "missing" Hagedorn states are not limited to the chemical equilibration time. Many believe that the new state of matter formed at RHIC is the closet to a perfect fluid found in nature, which implies that it has a small shear viscosity to entropy density ratio close to the bound derived using the uncertainty principle. Our hadron resonance gas model, including the additional Hagedorn states, is used to obtain an upper bound on the shear viscosity to entropy density ratio, eta/s, of hadronic matter near Tc that is close to 1/(4pi). Furthermore, the large trace anomaly and the small speed of sound near Tc computed within this model agree well with recent lattice calculations. We also comment on the behavior of the bulk viscosity to entropy density ratio of hadronic matter close to the phase transition, which qualitatively has a different behavior close to Tc than a hadron gas model with only the known resonances. We show how the measured particle ratios can be used to provide non-trivial information about Tc of the QCD phase transition. This is obtained by including the effects of highly massive Hagedorn resonances on statistical models, which are generally used to describe hadronic yields. The inclusion of the "missing" Hagedorn states creates a dependence of the thermal fits on the Hagedorn temperature, TH , and leads to a slight overall improvement of thermal fits. We find that for Au+Au collisions at RHIC at sqrt{sN N} = 200 GeV the best square fit measure, chi^2 , occurs at TH = Tc = 176 MeV and produces a chemical freeze-out temperature of 172.6 MeV and a baryon chemical potential of 39.7 MeV.

In recent years, Hagedorn states have been used to explain the equilibrium and transport properties of a hadron gas close to the QCD critical temperature. These massive resonances are shown to lower h/s to near the AdS/CFT limit close to the phase transition. A comparison of the Hagedorn model to recent lattice results is made and it is found that the hadrons can reach chemical equilibrium almost immediately, well before the chemical freeze-out temperatures found in thermal fits for a hadron gas without Hagedorn states.

Hadron lists based on experimental studies summarized by the Particle Data Group (PDG) are a crucial input for the equation of state and thermal models used in the study of strongly-interacting matter produced in heavy-ion collisions. Modeling of these strongly-interacting systems is carried out via hydrodynamical simulations, which are followed by hadronic transport codes that also require a hadronic list as input. To remain consistent throughout the different stages of modeling of a heavy-ion collision, the same hadron list with its corresponding decays must be used at each step. It has been shown that even the most uncertain states listed in the PDG from 2016 are required to reproduce partial pressures and susceptibilities from Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics with the hadronic list known as the PDG2016+. Here, we update the hadronic list for use in heavy-ion collision modeling by including the latest experimental information for all states listed in the Particle Data Booklet in 2021. We then compare our new list, called PDG2021+, to Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics results and find that it achieves even better agreement with the first principles calculations than the PDG2016+ list. Furthermore, we develop a novel scheme based on intermediate decay channels that allows for only binary decays, such that PDG2021+ will be compatible with the hadronic transport framework SMASH. Finally, we use these results to make comparisons to experimental data and discuss the impact on particle yields and spectra.

Recent lattice QCD results, comparing to a hadron resonance gas model, have shown the need for hundreds of particles in hadronic models. These extra particles influence both the equation of state and hadronic interactions within hadron transport models. Here, we introduce the PDG21+ particle list, which contains the most up-to-date database of particles and their properties. We then convert all particles decays into 2 body decays so that they are compatible with SMASH in order to produce a more consistent description of a heavy-ion collision.

We use 4stout improved staggered lattice data at imaginary chemical potentials to calculate fugacity expansion coefficients in finite temperature QCD. We discuss the phenomenological interpretation of our results within the hadron resonance gas (HRG) model, and the hints they give us about the hadron spectrum. We also discuss features of the higher order coefficients that are not captured by the HRG. This conference contribution is based on our recent papers [1, 2].