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Compelling evidence for the creation of a new form of matter has been claimed to be found in Pb+Pb collisions at SPS. We discuss the uniqueness of often proposed experimental signatures for quark matter formation in relativistic heavy ion collisions. It is demonstrated that so far none of the proposed signals like J/psi meson production/suppression, strangeness enhancement, dileptons, and directed flow unambigiously show that a phase of deconfined matter has been formed in SPS Pb+Pb collisions. 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 behavior of hadronic matter at high baryon densities is studied within Ultrarelativistic Quantum Molecular Dynamics (URQMD). Baryonic stopping is observed for Au+Au collisions from SIS up to SPS energies. The excitation function of flow shows strong sensitivities to the underlying equation of state (EOS), allowing for systematic studies of the EOS. Effects of a density dependent pole of the rho-meson propagator on dilepton spectra are studied for different systems and centralities at CERN energies.

To be published in J. Phys. G - Proceedings of SQM 2004 : We review the results from the various hydrodynamical and transport models on the collective flow observables from AGS to RHIC energies. A critical discussion of the present status of the CERN experiments on hadron collective flow is given. We emphasize the importance of the flow excitation function from 1 to 50 A.GeV: here the hydrodynamic model has predicted the collapse of the v2-flow ~ 10 A.GeV; at 40 A.GeV it has been recently observed by the NA49 collaboration. Since hadronic rescattering models predict much larger flow than observed at this energy we interpret this observation as evidence for a first order phase transition at high baryon density r b. Moreover, the connection of the elliptic flow v2 to jet suppression is examined. It is proven experimentally that the collective flow is not faked by minijet fragmentation. Additionally, detailed transport studies show that the away-side jet suppression can only partially (< 50%) be due to hadronic rescattering. Furthermore, the change in sign of v1, v2 closer to beam rapidity is related to the occurence of a high density first order phase transition in the RHIC data at 62.5, 130 and 200 A.GeV.

We study the thermodynamic properties of infinite nuclear matter with the Ultrarelativistic Quantum Molecular Dynamics (URQMD), a semiclassical transport model, running in a box with periodic boundary conditions. It appears that the energy density rises faster than T4 at high temperatures of T approx. 200 - 300 MeV. This indicates an increase in the number of degrees of freedom. Moreover, We have calculated direct photon production in Pb+Pb collisions at 160 GeV/u within this model. The direct photon slope from the microscopic calculation equals that from a hydrodynamical calculation without a phase transition in the equation of state of the photon source.

The yields of strange particles are calculated with the UrQMD model for p,Pb(158 AGeV)Pb collisions and compared to experimental data. The yields are enhanced in central collisions if compared to proton induced or peripheral Pb+Pb collisions. The enhancement is due to secondary interactions. Nevertheless, only a reduction of the quark masses or equivalently an increase of the string tension provides an adequate description of the large observed enhancement factors (WA97 and NA49). Furthermore, the yields of unstable strange resonances as the Lambda star(1520) resonance or the phi meson are considerably affected by hadronic rescattering of the decay products.

We investigate the effects of strong color fields and of the associated enhanced intrinsic transverse momenta on the phi-meson production in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions at RHIC. The observed consequences include a change of the spectral slopes, varying particle ratios, and also modified mean transverse momenta. In particular, the composition of the production processes of phi-mesons, that is, direct production vs. coalescence-like production, depends strongly on the strength of the color fields and intrinsic transverse momenta and thus represents a sensitive probe for their measurement.

The disappearance of flow
(1995)

We investigate the disappearance of collective flow in the reaction plane in heavy-ion collisions within a microscopic model (QMD). A systematic study of the impact parameter dependence is performed for the system Ca+Ca. The balance energy strongly increases with impact parameter. Momentum dependent interactions reduce the balance energies for intermediate impact parameters b ~ 4.5 fm. Dynamical negative flow is not visible in the laboratory frame but does exist in the contact frame for the heavy system Au+Au. For semi-peripheral collisions of Ca+Ca with b ~ 6.5 fm a new two-component flow is discussed. Azimuthal distributions exhibit strong collectiv flow signals, even at the balance energy.

We make predictions for the kaon interferometry measurements in Au+Au collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). A first order phase transition from a thermalized Quark-Gluon-Plasma (QGP) to a gas of hadrons is assumed for the transport calculations. The fraction of kaons that are directly emitted from the phase boundary is considerably enhanced at large transverse momenta K T ~ 1 GeV/c. In this kinematic region, the sensitivity of the R out/R side ratio to the QGP-properties is enlarged. Here, the results of the 1-dimensional correlation analysis are presented. The extracted interferometry radii, depending on K-Theta, are not unusually large and are strongly affected by momentum resolution effects.

We present calculations of two-pion and two-kaon correlation functions in relativistic heavy ion collisions from a relativistic transport model that includes explicitly a first-order phase transition from a thermalized quark-gluon plasma to a hadron gas. We compare the obtained correlation radii with recent data from RHIC. The predicted R_side radii agree with data while the R_out and R_long radii are overestimated. We also address the impact of in-medium modifications, for example, a broadening of the rho-meson, on the correlation radii. In particular, the longitudinal correlation radius R_long is reduced, improving the comparison to data.

We calculate the Gaussian radius parameters of the pion-emitting source in high energy heavy ion collisions, assuming a first order phase transition from a thermalized Quark-Gluon-Plasma (QGP) to a gas of hadrons. Such a model leads to a very long-lived dissipative hadronic rescattering phase which dominates the properties of the two-pion correlation functions. The radii are found to depend only weakly on the thermalization time tau i, the critical temperature T c (and thus the latent heat), and the specific entropy of the QGP. The dissipative hadronic stage enforces large variations of the pion emission times around the mean. Therefore, the model calculations suggest a rapid increase of R out/R side as a function of K T if a thermalized QGP were formed.