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By C. Höhne

Abstract

Experimental studies of nucleus-nucleus collisions in the whole SPS energy range are reviewed. Selected topics such as statistical properties of the hadronic phase, strangeness production, fluctuations and correlations are discussed with regard to information on the onset of deconfinement and the critical point of strongly interacting matter. In spite of the very interesting results obtained in particular at the low SPS energies, additional data including rare probes such as charmed particles and di-leptons are required for a precise understanding of the underlying physics. An outlook about prospects and capabilities of upcoming experiments in this interesting energy region at RHIC, SPS, and in particular with CBM at FAIR, is given. 1. Energy scan at the CERN-SPS In 1997, with the first results from central Pb+Pb collisions at the top-SPS energy of 158 AGeV beam energy coming in, NA49 [1] proposed an energy scan in order to search for signs for an onset of deconfinement for which early predictions have been made [2]. After a SPS test in 1998, Pb-ions at 4 different beam energies below the top energy were provided by the CERN-SPS: 5 weeks of 40 AGeV beam energy (1999), 5 days of 80 AGeV beam energy (2000), and 7 day

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