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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.

A new chiral SU(3) Lagrangian is proposed to describe the properties of kaons and anti-kaons in the nuclear medium. The saturation properties of nuclear matter are reproduced as well as the results of the Dirac-Brückner theory. After introducing the coupling between the omega meson and the kaon, our results for e ective kaon and anti-kaon energy are quite similar as calculated in the one-boson-exchange model.

A new chiral SU(3) Lagrangian is proposed to describe the properties of kaons and antikaons in the nuclear medium, the ground state of dense matter and the kaon-nuclear interactions consistently. The saturation properties of nuclear matter are reproduced as well as the results of the Dirac-Brückner theory. After taking into account the coupling between the omega meson and the kaon, we obtain similar results for the e ective kaon and antikaon energies as calculated in the one-boson-exchange model while in our model the parameters of the kaon-nuclear interactions are constrained by the SU(3) chiral symmetry. PACS number(s): 14.40.Aq, 12.39.Fe, 21.30.Fe

We compute the vacuum polarization correction to the binding energy of nuclear matter in the Walecka model using a nonperturbative approach. We first study such a contribution as arising from a ground-state structure with baryon-antibaryon condensates. This yields the same results as obtained through the relativistic Hartree approximation of summing tadpole diagrams for the baryon propagator. Such a vacuum is then generalized to include quantum effects from meson fields through scalar-meson condensates which amounts to summing over a class of multiloop diagrams. The method is applied to study properties of nuclear matter and leads to a softer equation of state giving a lower value of the incompressibility than would be reached without quantum effects. The density-dependent effective sigma mass is also calculated including such vacuum polarization effects.

We calculate the asymptotic high-energy amplitude for electrons scattering at one ion, as well as at two colliding ions, by means of perturbation theory. We show that the interaction with one ion eikonalizes and that the interaction with two ions causally decouples. We are able to put previous results on perturbative grounds and propose further applications for the obtained rules for interactions on the light cone. We discuss the implications of the eikonal amplitude on the pair production probability in ultrarelativistic peripheral heavy-ion collisions. In this context the Weizsäcker-Williams method is shown to be exact in the ultrarelativistic limit, irrespective of the produced particles’ mass. A new equivalent single-photon distribution is derived, which correctly accounts for Coulomb distortions. The impact on single-photon induced processes is discussed.

We present the current status of hybrid approaches to describe heavy ion collisions and their future challenges and perspectives. First we present a hybrid model combining a Boltzmann transport model of hadronic degrees of freedom in the initial and final state with an optional hydrodynamic evolution during the dense and hot phase. Second, we present a recent extension of the hydrodynamical model to include fluctuations near the phase transition by coupling a chiral field to the hydrodynamic evolution.

We evaluate the in-medium D and -meson masses in hot hadronic matter induced by interactions with the light hadron sector described in a chiral SU(3) model. The e ective Lagrangian approach is generalized to SU(4) to include charmed mesons. We find that the D-mass drops substantially at finite temperatures and densities, which open the channels of the decay of the charmonium states ( 2, c, J/ ) to D pairs in the thermal medium. The e ects of vacuum polarisations from the baryon sector on the medium modification of the D-meson mass relative to those obtained in the mean field approximation are investigated. The results of the present work are compared to calculations based on the QCD sum-rule approach, the quark-meson coupling model, chiral perturbation theory, as well as to studies of quarkonium dissociation using heavy quark potential from lattice QCD.

Abstract: The e ect of vacuum fluctuations on the in-medium hadronic properties is investigated using a chiral SU(3) model in the nonlinear realization. The e ect of the baryon Dirac sea is seen to modify hadronic properties and in contrast to a calculation in mean field approximation it is seen to give rise to a significant drop of the vector meson masses in hot and dense matter. This e ect is taken into account through the summation of baryonic tadpole diagrams in the relativistic Hartree approximation (RHA), where the baryon self energy is modified due to interactions with both the non-strange ( ) and the strange ( ) scalar fields.

Abstract: The medium modification of kaon and antikaon masses, compatible with low energy KN scattering data, are studied in a chiral SU(3) model. The mutual interactions with baryons in hot hadronic matter and the e ects from the baryonic Dirac sea on the K( ¯K ) masses are examined. The in-medium masses from the chiral SU(3) e ective model are compared to those from chiral perturbation theory. Furthermore, the influence of these in-medium e ects on kaon rapidity distributions and transverse energy spectra as well as the K, ¯K flow pattern in heavy-ion collision experiments at 1.5 to 2 A·GeV are investigated within the HSD transport approach. Detailed predictions on the transverse momentum and rapidity dependence of directed flow v1 and the elliptic flow v2 are provided for Ni+Ni at 1.93 A·GeV within the various models, that can be used to determine the in-medium K± properties from the experimental side in the near future.

Abstract: The measured particle ratios in central heavy-ion collisions at RHIC-BNL are investigated within a chemical and thermal equilibrium chiral SU(3) Ã É approach. The commonly adopted non-interacting gas calculations yield temperatures close to or above the critical temperature for the chiral phase transition, but without taking into account any interactions. In contrast, the chiral SU(3) model predicts temperature and density dependent effective hadron masses and effective chemical potentials in the medium and a transition to a chirally restored phase at high temperatures or chemical potentials. Three different parametrizations of the model, which show different types of phase transition behaviour, are investigated. We show that if a chiral phase transition occured in those collisions, freezing of the relative hadron abundances in the symmetric phase is excluded by the data. Therefore, either very rapid chemical equilibration must occur in the broken phase, or the measured hadron ratios are the outcome of the dynamical symmetry breaking. Furthermore, the extracted chemical freeze-out parameters differ considerably from those obtained in simple non-interacting gas calculations. In particular, the three models yield up to 35 MeV lower temperatures than the free gas approximation. The inmedium masses turn out to differ up to 150 MeV from their vacuum values.