Quark-hadron phase transition
Department of Physics, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221 005, India
Received: 25 August 1997 / Revised version: 25 March 1998 / Published online: 26 August 1998
The implications of the strangeness conservation in a hadronic resonance gas (HRG) on the expected phase transition to the quark gluon plasma (QGP) are investigated. It is assumed that under favourable conditions a first order hadron-quark matter phase transition may occur in the hot hadronic matter such as those produced in the ultra-relativistic heavy-ion collisions at CERN and BNL. It is however shown that the criteria of strict strangeness conservation in the HRG may not permit the occurrence of a strict first order equilibrium quark-hadron phase transition unlike a previous study. This emerges as a consequence of the application of a realistic equation of state (EOS) for the HRG and QGP phases, which account for the finite-size effect arising from the short range hard-core hadronic repulsion in the HRG phase and the perturbative QCD interactions in the QGP phase. For a first order hadron-quark matter phase transition to occur one will therefore require large fluctuations in the critical thermal parameters, which might arise due to superheating, supercooling or other nonequlibrium effects. We also discuss a scenario proposed earlier, leading to a possible strangeness separation process during hadronization.