Investigations on particle DArk MAtter and other rare processes with highly radiopure scintillators @ Gran Sasso
(group leader: Prof. R. Bernabei)
DAMA is an observatory for rare processes, based on the developments and use of highly radiopure scintillators. It has also been a pioneer activity in the direct investigation of Dark Matter particles in the galactic halo. In particular, the 1st generation DAMA/NaI (~100 kg highly radiopure NaI(Tl) set-up) pointed out over 7 annual cycles (exposure: 0.29 ton x year) a model independent evidence for the presence of Dark Matter particles in the galactic halo with high confidence level. The 2nd generation experiment DAMA/LIBRA (~250 kg highly radiopure NaI(Tl)) set-up has confirmed on 2008 this model independent result over its first four annual cycles (exposure: 0.53 ton x year) also at high confidence level. New data have been released in 2010 over two additional annual cycles (one before and one after the first upgrading of DAMA/LIBRA occurred in September 2008). The cumulative exposure over 6 annual cycles of DAMA/LIBRA is 0.87 ton x year; thus, cumulatively the former DAMA/NaI and DAMA/LIBRA-1 to -6 have released 1.17 ton x year. The model independent evidence for the presence of Dark Matter particles in the galactic halo is 8.9 standard deviations. No experiment whose results can be directly compared in a model independent way with these ones is available in the field.