The DAMA experiment

The DAMA project at the Gran Sasso National Laboratories of the I.N.F.N. is an observatory for rare processes thanks to the development and use of highly radiopure scintillators. The main activity is the investigation on Dark Matter (DM) particles in the galactic halo and the search for several other rare processes (such as bb decay modes in various isotopes, charge-non-conserving processes, Pauli exclusion principle violating processes, nucleon instability, detection of solar axions and search for exotics). So far the three experimental set-ups DAMA/NaI (~100 kg ultra-radiopure NaI(Tl)), DAMA/LIBRA -phase1 and DAMA/LIBRA -phase2 (both ~250 kg ultra-radiopure NaI(Tl)) have been dedicated to the investigations of the presence of a DM particle component in the galactic halo by exploiting the model independent DM annual modulation signature. They have pointed out over 20 independent annual cycles a positive result cumulatively at 12.9 σfor an exposure of 2.46 ton x yr above 2 keV and of 1.13 ton x yr  between 1 and 2 keV (only DAMA/LIBRA-phase2).  No systematic or side reaction able to mimic the exploited DM signature (i.e. able to account for the whole measured modulation amplitude and simultaneously to satisfy the many peculiarities of the exploited signature) has been found or suggested by anyone over some decades. Many other analyses on DM candidates and related scenarios are performed as well as other approaches for DM and for other kinds of rare processes. The last set-ups is running and new R&D is in progress to further increase the experimental sensitivity. DAMA is also carrying on other activities to investigate rare processes with other low background set-ups: DAMA/LXe set-up (now dismounted), DAMA/R&D, DAMA/CRYS and DAMA/Ge, where relatively small scale experiment are carried out and many improved or new results have been obtained on various processes.

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