In relativistic heavy-ion collisions a “Little-Bang” is produced, in which the matter for a few fm/c experiences very similar (but not equal) conditions to the one occurred in the early universe, about one millionth of a second after the Big Bang. In particular one expects to produce a fireball of deconfined QCD matter in which the active degrees of freedom are quarks and gluons rather than hadrons. If this fireball lives for such a short amount of time, which are the experimental signatures of the onset of deconfinement and how can one extract information about its properties from the experimental data? In this connection I will show how heavy-flavour particles arising from the hadronization of charm and beauty quarks play a major role.
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