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Entropy production in the compression stage of heavy ion collisions is discussed within three distinct macroscopic models (i.e. generalized RHTA, geometrical overlap model and three-fluid hydrodynamics). We find that within these models \sim 80% or more of the experimentally observed final-state entropy is created in the early stage. It is thus likely followed by a nearly isentropic expansion. We employ an equation of state with a first-order phase transition. For low net baryon density, the entropy density exhibits a jump at the phase boundary. However, the excitation function of the specific entropy per net baryon, S/A, does not reflect this jump. This is due to the fact that for final states (of the compression) in the mixed phase, the baryon density \rho_B increases with \sqrt{s}, but not the temperature T. Calculations within the three-fluid model show that a large fraction of the entropy is produced by nuclear shockwaves in the projectile and target. With increasing beam energy, this fraction of S/A decreases. At \sqrt{s}=20 AGeV it is on the order of the entropy of the newly produced particles around midrapidity. Hadron ratios are calculated for the entropy values produced initially at beam energies from 2 to 200 AGeV.

Entropy production in the initial compression stage of relativistic heavy-ion collisions from AGS to SPS energies is calculated within a three-fluid hydrodynamical model. The entropy per participating net baryon is found to increase smoothly and does not exhibit a jump or a plateau as in the 1-dimensional one-fluid shock model. Therefore, the excess of pions per participating net baryon in nucleus-nucleus collisions as compared to proton-proton reactions also increases smoothly with beam energy.

We compare multiplicities as well as rapidity and transverse momentum distributions of protons, pions and kaons calculated within presently available transport approaches for heavy ion collisions around 1 AGeV. For this purpose, three reactions have been selected: Au+Au at 1 and 1.48 AGeV and Ni+Ni at 1.93 AGeV.

Noneequilibrium models (three-fluid hydrodynamics and UrQMD) use to discuss the uniqueness of often proposed experimental signatures for quark matter formation in relativistic heavy ion collisions. It is demonstrated that these two models - although they do treat the most interesting early phase of the collisions quite differently(thermalizing QGP vs. coherent color fields with virtual particles) - both yields a reasonable agreement with a large variety of the available heavy ion data.

We investigate hadron production and transverse hadron spectra in nucleus-nucleus collisions from 2 A·GeV to 21.3 A·TeV within two independent transport approaches (UrQMD and HSD) based on quark, diquark, string and hadronic degrees of freedom. The enhancement of pion production in central Au+Au (Pb+Pb) collisions relative to scaled pp collisions (the ’kink’) is described well by both approaches without involving a phase transition. However, the maximum in the K+ p+ ratio at 20 to 30 A·GeV (the ’horn’) is missed by ~ 40%. Also, at energies above ~5 A·GeV, the measured K± mT-spectra have a larger inverse slope than expected from the models. Thus the pressure generated by hadronic interactions in the transport models at high energies is too low. This finding suggests that the additional pressure - as expected from lattice QCD at finite quark chemical potential and temperature - might be generated by strong interactions in the early pre-hadronic/partonic phase of central heavy-ion collisions. Finally, we discuss the emergence of density perturbations in a first-order phase transition and why they might affect relative hadron multiplicities, collective flow, and hadron mean-free paths at decoupling. A minimum in the collective flow v2 excitation function was discovered experimentally at 40 A·GeV - such a behavior has been predicted long ago as signature for a first order phase transition.

Nonequilibrium models (three-fluid hydrodynamics, UrQMD, and quark molecular dynamics) are used to discuss the uniqueness of often proposed experimental signatures for quark matter formation in relativistic heavy ion collisions from the SPS via RHIC to LHC. It is demonstrated that these models - although they do treat the most interesting early phase of the collisions quite differently (thermalizing QGP vs. coherent color fields with virtual particles) -- all yield a reasonable agreement with a large variety of the available heavy ion data. Hadron/hyperon yields, including J/Psi meson production/suppression, strange matter formation, dileptons, and directed flow (bounce-off and squeeze-out) are investigated. Observations of interesting phenomena in dense matter are reported. However, we emphasize the need for systematic future measurements to search for simultaneous irregularities in the excitation functions of several observables in order to come close to pinning the properties of hot, dense QCD matter from data. The role of future experiments with the STAR and ALICE detectors is pointed out.

Impact parameter dependencies in Pb(160 AGeV)+Pb reactions : hydrodynamical vs. cascade calculations
(1999)

We investigate the impact parameter dependence of the specific entropy S/A in relativistic heavy ion collisions. Especially the anti-Lambda/anti-proton ratio is found to be a useful tool to distinguish between chemical equilibrium assumptions assumed in hydrodynamics (here: the 3-fluid model) and the chemical non-equilibrium scenario like in microscopic models as the UrQMD model.

We investigate the excitation function of directed flow, which can provide a clear signature of the creation of the QGP and demonstrate that the minimum of the directed flow does not correspond to the softest point of the EoS for isentropic expansion. A novel technique measuring the compactness is introduced to determine the QGP transition in relativistic-heavy ion collisions: The QGP transition will lead to higher compression and therefore to higher compactness of the source in coordinate space. This e ect can be observed by pion interferometry. We propose to measure the compactness of the source in the appropriate principal axis frame of the compactness tensor in coordinate space.

The SENECA model, a new hybrid approach to air shower simulations, is presented. It combines the use of efficient cascade equations in the energy range where a shower can be treated as one-dimensional, with a traditional Monte Carlo method which traces individual particles. This allows one to reproduce natural fluctuations of individual showers as well as the lateral spread of low energy particles. The model is quite efficient in computation time. As an application of the new approach, the influence of the low energy hadronic models on shower properties for AUGER energies is studied. We conclude that these models have a significant impact on the tails of lateral distribution functions, and deserve therefore more attention.