The hadronic phase influences observables in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions

The hadronic phase in ultrarelativistic nuclear collisions has a large influence on final state observables like multiplicity, flow and $p_t$ spectra, as studied in the UrQMD approach. In this model one assumes that a non-equilibrium decoupling phase follows a fluid dynamical description of the high density phase. Hadrons are produced assuming local thermal equilibrium and dynamically decouple during the hadronic rescattering until the particles are registered in the detectors. This rescattering of hadrons modifies every hadronic bulk observable. The apparent multiplicity of resonances is suppressed as compared to a chemical equilibrium freeze-out model, because the decay products rescatter. Therefore the resonances, which decay in the early hadronic phase, cannot be identified anymore by the invariant mass method. Stable and unstable particles change their momentum distribution by more than 30$\%$ through rescattering and their multiplicity is modified by resonance production and annihilation on a similar magnitude. These findings show that it is all but trivial to conclude from the final state observables on the properties of the system at an earlier time where it may have been in local equilibrium.

Comments: 10 pages 17 figures

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