Abstract:
We present updated results on chiral phase structure in (2+1)-flavor ($N_f$=2+1) and 3-flavor ($N_f=3$) QCD based on the simulations using Highly Improved Staggered Quarks on lattices with temporal extent $N_\tau$ =6 at vanishing baryon chemical potential. In $N_f$=2+1 QCD we have performed simulations with a strange quark fixed to its physical value and two degenerate light quarks whose values are adjusted to have 5 values of Goldstone pion masses in the region of 160 - 80 MeV in the continuum limit. The universal scaling behavior of chiral condensates as well as chiral susceptibilities is discussed and the tri-critical point is suggested to be located below the physical point, i.e. at smaller than physical strange quark mass. In $N_f$=3 QCD simulations with 6 different masses of 3 degenerate quarks corresponding to the Goldstone pion masses in the region of 230 - 80 MeV have also been performed. Our results suggest that the QCD transition with these values of quark masses is of crossover type and an upper bound of the critical pion mass where the first order phase transition starts is estimated to be about 50 MeV.

Abstract:
We present preliminary results from an ongoing calculation to determine the curvature of the chiral phase transition line in the chiral limit along the light-light, light-strange and strange-strange chemical potential directions. We do this by studying the appropriate $\mu$-derivatives of the chiral condensate as a function of the quark mass and comparing them to the scaling predictions of $3d$-$O(N)$ theory. We work at a fixed lattice spacing, $N_\tau=6$ and at four different quark masses $m_\pi\approx$ 140, 110, 90 and 80 MeV. For the light quark curvature, we obtain a value 0.03$\leqslant\kappa_{ll}\leqslant$0.11. We also find that both strange and light-strange curvatures are around an order of magnitude smaller. Currently, the light-strange curvature is the least constrained curvature and could have either sign, though our results seem to prefer a slightly negative value.

Abstract:
Ratios of cumulants of conserved net charge fluctuations are sensitive to the degrees of freedom that are carriers of the corresponding quantum numbers in different phases of strong interaction matter. We calculate second and fourth order cumulants of net charm and strange fluctuations and their correlations with other conserved charges such as net baryon number and electric charge. Simulation are performed on $N_\tau$=6 and 8 lattices using the Highly Improved Staggered Quark (HISQ) action with a light to strange quark mass ratio of 1/20 and having charm quarks treated in the quenched approximation. Analysing appropriate ratios of these cumulants we observe that both open strange and charm hadrons start to get dissociated in the chiral crossover region. We provide indirect evidence for the existence of additional, experimentally yet unobserved open charm and strange hadrons from QCD thermodynamics. This is done by comparing lattice QCD results to Hadron Resonance Gas (HRG) model calculations performed with a hadron spectrum as listed in the Particle Data Tables as well as with a spectrum predicted in the relativistic quark model and observed in lattice QCD calculations. We also discuss the influence of these experimentally yet unobserved states on the determination of freeze-out temperature and chemical potentials from heavy ion collision experiments. We found that including these additional states in the HRG model leads to a systematic 5-8 MeV decrease in the freeze-out temperature of strange hadrons.

Abstract:
Results are presented on a partial wave analysis of the Omega Eta final state produced in Pi- Proton interactions at 18 GeVc where Omega -> Pi+ Pi- Pi0, Pi0 -> 2 Gammas, and Eta -> 2 Gammas. We observe the previously unreported decay mode Omega(1650) -> Omega Eta and a new 1(+-) meson state h1(1595) with a mass M=1594(15)(+10)(-60) MeV/c^2 and a width Gamma=384(60)(+70)(-100) MeV/c^2. The h1(1595) state exhibits resonant-like phase motion relative to the Omega(1650).

Abstract:
We present results for screening masses of light and strange mesons in 2+1 flavour QCD using improved (p4fat3) staggered fermions on 6x24^3 lattices. We have studied the screening masses of scalar, pseudo-scalar, vector and axial-vector mesons along the line of constant physics, determined by a pion mass ~220 MeV and a kaon mass ~500 MeV. In order to investigate the cut-off and volume dependencies we have also performed studies of the meson screening correlators in the non-interacting theory using the p4 and the standard staggered discretizations.

Abstract:
We present results on baryon number, strangeness and electric charge fluctuations in QCD at non-zero density and temperature obtained from lattice calculations with almost physical quark masses. At vanishing chemical potential, i.e. under conditions almost realized at RHIC and the LHC, quartic fluctuations of net baryon number and strangeness are large in a narrow temperature interval characterizing the transition region from the low to the high temperature phase. Our results are based on Taylor expansions in light and strange quark chemical potentials, i.e. we rigorously compute corrections to bulk thermodynamic quantities at non vanishing chemical potential, by performing a Taylor expansion in $\mu/T$. We find non-monotonic behavior for the radius of convergence of this series, which could be a hint for a critical end-point in the ($T,\mu$)-plane.

Abstract:
We present lattice results for baryon number, strangeness and electric charge fluctuations as well as their correlations at finite temperature and vanishing chemical potentials, i.e. under conditions relevant for RHIC and LHC. We find that the fluctuations change rapidly at the transition temperature $T_c$ and approach the ideal quark gas limit already at approximately $1.5T_c$. This indicates that quarks are the relevant degrees of freedom that carry the quantum numbers of conserved charges at $T\geq 1.5T_c$. At low temperature, qualitative features of the lattice results are well described by a hadron resonance gas model.

Abstract:
We analyze the large-distance behaviour of static quark-anti-quark pair correlations in QCD. The singlet free energy is calculated and the entropy contribution to it is identified allowing us to calculate the excess internal energy. The free energy has a sharp drop in the critical region, leading to sharp peaks in both excess entropy and internal energy.

Abstract:
We present results from a detailed study of singlet free energies in full QCD with realistic quark masses. An improved scheme for the non-perturbative renormalization of the Polyakov loop is used and we compare its temperature dependence for QCD with different flavor content. We also analyze screening masses extracted from singlet free energies at various temperatures close to and above the QCD transition temperature. We conclude that the temperature dependence of screening masses is well described by perturbation theory up to a non-perturbative pre-factor. An effective running coupling has been determined for all temperature values giving additional insight into screening phenomena at high temperature.

Abstract:
The spatial string tension for 3+1 dimensional QCD at finite temperature is measured. The gauge configurations we re generated with two light and one heavier strange quark on lattices of size $16^3 4$ and $24^3 6$. This spatial string tension is compared with the string tension of the 3 dimensional pure gauge theory together with the temperature dependent 2-loop running coupling. Further comparison is made with predictions from dimensionally reduced effective theories.