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- QCD equation of state and dark matter (2006)
- The QCD equation of state is not often discussed in cosmology. However, the relic density of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) depends on the entropy and the expansion rate of the Universe when they freeze out, at a temperature in the range 400 MeV – 40GeV, where QCD corrections are still important. We use recent analytic and lattice calculations of the QCD pressure to produce a new equation of state suitable for use in relic density calculations. As an example, we show that relic densities calculated by the dark matter package DarkSUSY receive corrections of several per cent, within the observational accuracy of the Planck CMB mission, due for launch in 2007.

- Strong coupling expansion for Yang-Mills theory at finite temperature (2007)
- Euclidean strong coupling expansion of the partition function is applied to lattice Yang-Mills theory at finite temperature, i.e. for lattices with a compactified temporal direction. The expansions have a finite radius of convergence and thus are valid only for b <bc, where bc denotes the nearest singularity of the free energy on the real axis. The accessible temperature range is thus the confined regime up to the deconfinement transition. We have calculated the first few orders of these expansions of the free energy density as well as the screening masses for the gauge groups SU(2) and SU(3). The resulting free energy series can be summed up and corresponds to a glueball gas of the lowest mass glueballs up to the calculated order. Our result can be used to fix the lower integration constant for Monte Carlo calculations of the thermodynamic pressure via the integral method, and shows from first principles that in the confined phase this constant is indeed exponentially small. Similarly, our results also explain the weak temperature dependence of glueball screening masses below Tc, as observed in Monte Carlo simulations. Possibilities and difficulties in extracting bc from the series are discussed.

- Twisted mass QCD at finite temperature (2007)
- We discuss the use of Wilson fermions with twisted mass for simulations of QCD thermodynamics. As a prerequisite for a future analysis of the finite-temperature transition making use of automatic O(a) improvement, we investigate the phase structure in the space spanned by the hopping parameter k , the coupling b , and the twisted mass parameter m. We present results for Nf = 2 degenerate quarks on a 163×8 lattice, for which we investigate the possibility of an Aoki phase existing at strong coupling and vanishing m, as well as of a thermal phase transition at moderate gauge couplings and non-vanishing m.

- Exploring the QCD phase diagram (2007)
- Lattice simulations employing reweighting and Taylor expansion techniques have predicted a (m;T)-phase diagram according to general expectations, with an analytic quark-hadron crossover at m =0 turning into a first order transition at some critical chemical potential mE. By contrast, recent simulations using imgainary m followed by analytic continuation obtained a critical structure in the fmu;d;ms;T;mg parameter space favouring the absence of a critical point and first order line. I review the evidence for the latter scenario, arguing that the various raw data are not inconsistent with each other. Rather, the discrepancy appears when attempting to extract continuum results from the coarse (Nt =4) lattices simulated so far, and can be explained by cut-off effects. New (as yet unpublished) data are presented, which for Nf = 3 and on Nt = 4 confirm the scenario without a critical point. Moreover, simulations on finer Nt = 6 lattices show that even if there is a critical point, continuum extrapolation moves it to significantly larger values of mE than anticipated on coarse lattices.

- Towards a determination of the chiral critical surface of QCD (2009)
- The chiral critical surface is a surface of second order phase transitions bounding the region of first order chiral phase transitions for small quark masses in the fmu;d;ms;mg parameter space. The potential critical endpoint of the QCD (T;m)-phase diagram is widely expected to be part of this surface. Since for m = 0 with physical quark masses QCD is known to exhibit an analytic crossover, this expectation requires the region of chiral transitions to expand with m for a chiral critical endpoint to exist. Instead, on coarse Nt = 4 lattices, we find the area of chiral transitions to shrink with m, which excludes a chiral critical point for QCD at moderate chemical potentials mB < 500 MeV. First results on finer Nt = 6 lattices indicate a curvature of the critical surface consistent with zero and unchanged conclusions. We also comment on the interplay of phase diagrams between the Nf = 2 and Nf = 2+1 theories and its consequences for physical QCD.

- Lattice calculations at non-zero chemical potential: the QCD phase diagram (2009)
- The so-called sign problem of lattice QCD prohibits Monte Carlo simulations at finite baryon density by means of importance sampling. Over the last few years, methods have been developed which are able to circumvent this problem as long as the quark chemical potential is m=T <~1. After a brief review of these methods, their application to a first principles determination of the QCD phase diagram for small baryon densities is summarised. The location and curvature of the pseudo-critical line of the quark hardon transition is under control and extrapolations to physical quark masses and the continuum are feasible in the near future. No definite conclusions can as yet be drawn regarding the existence of a critical end point, which turns out to be extremely quark mass and cut-off sensitive. Investigations with different methods on coarse lattices show the lightmass chiral phase transition to weaken when a chemical potential is switched on. If persisting on finer lattices, this would imply that there is no chiral critical point or phase transition for physical QCD. Any critical structure would then be related to physics other than chiral symmetry breaking.

- Screened perturbation theory for 3d Yang-Mills theory and the magnetic modes of hot QCD : International Workshop on QCD Green’s Functions, Confinement, and Phenomenology - QCD-TNT09, September 07 - 11 2009, ECT Trento, Italy (2009)
- Perturbation theory for non-abelian gauge theories at finite temperature is plagued by infrared divergences which are caused by magnetic soft modes ~ g2T, corresponding to gluon fields of a 3d Yang-Mills theory. While the divergences can be regulated by a dynamically generated magnetic mass on that scale, the gauge coupling drops out of the effective expansion parameter requiring summation of all loop orders for the calculation of observables. Some gauge invariant possibilities to implement such infrared-safe resummations are reviewed. We use a scheme based on the non-linear sigma model to estimate some of the contributions ~ g6 of the soft magnetic modes to the QCD pressure through two loops. The NLO contribution amounts to ~ 10% of the LO, suggestive of a reasonable convergence of the series.

- Towards corrections to the strong coupling limit of staggered lattice QCD : the XXIX International Symposium on Lattice Field Theory - Lattice 2011, July 10 - 16, 2011, Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, California (2011)
- We report on the first steps of an ongoing project to add gauge observables and gauge corrections to the well-studied strong coupling limit of staggered lattice QCD, which has been shown earlier to be amenable to numerical simulations by the worm algorithm in the chiral limit and at finite density. Here we show how to evaluate the expectation value of the Polyakov loop in the framework of the strong coupling limit at finite temperature, allowing to study confinement properties along with those of chiral symmetry breaking. We find the Polyakov loop to rise smoothly, thus signalling deconfinement. The non-analytic nature of the chiral phase transition is reflected in the derivative of the Polyakov loop. We also discuss how to construct an effective theory for non-zero lattice coupling, which is valid to O(b).

- Implications on the collision dynamics via azimuthal sensitive HBT from UrQMD : the Seventh Workshop on Particle Correlations and Femtoscopy, September 20 - 24 2011, University of Tokyo, Japan (2011)
- We explore the shape and orientation of the freezeout region of non-central heavy ion collisions. For this we fit the freezeout distribution with a tilted ellipsoid. The resulting tilt angle is compared to the same tilt angle extracted via an azimuthally sensitive HBT analysis. This allows to access the tilt angle experimentally, which is not possible directly from the freezeout distribution. We also show a systematic study on the system decoupling time dependence on dNch/dh, using HBT results from the UrQMD transport model. In this study we found that the decoupling time scales with (dNch/dh)1/3 within each energy, but the scaling is broken across energies.

- Direct photon emission in heavy ion collisions from microscopic transport theory and fluid dynamics : XLVIII International Winter Meeting on Nuclear Physics, BORMIO2010, January 25 - 29, 2010, Bormio, Italy (2010)
- Direct photon emission in heavy-ion collisions is calculated within a relativistic micro+macro hybrid model and compared to the microscopic transport model UrQMD. In the hybrid approach, the high-density part of the collision is calculated by an ideal 3+1-dimensional hydrodynamic calculation, while the early (pre-equilibrium-) and late (rescattering-) phase are calculated with the transport model. Different scenarios of the transition from the macroscopic description to the transport model description and their effects are studied. The calculations are compared to measurements by the WA98-collaboration and predictions for the future CBM-experiment are made.