First results from a dark matter search with liquid argon at 87 K in the Gran Sasso underground laboratory

P. Benetti, R. Acciarri, F. Adamo, B. Baibussinov, M. Baldo-Ceolin, M. Belluco, F. Calaprice, E. Calligarich, M. Cambiaghi, F. Carbonara, F. Cavanna, S. Centro, A. G. Cocco, F. Di Pompeo, N. Ferrari, G. Fiorillo, C. Galbiati, V. Gallo, L. Grandi, A. IanniG. Mangano, G. Meng, C. Montanari, O. Palamara, L. Pandola, F. Pietropaolo, G. L. Raselli, M. Rossella, C. Rubbia, A. M. Szelc, S. Ventura, C. Vignoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


A new method of searching for dark matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMP) has been developed with the direct detection of the low energy nuclear recoils observed in a massive target (ultimately many tons) of ultra pure liquid argon at 87 K. A high selectivity for argon recoils is achieved by the simultaneous observation of both the VUV scintillation luminescence and of the electron signal surviving columnar recombination, extracted through the liquid-gas boundary by an electric field. First physics results from this method are reported, based on a small 2.3 l test chamber filled with natural argon and an accumulated fiducial exposure of about 100 kg day, supporting the future validity of this method with isotopically purified 40Ar and for a much larger unit presently under construction with correspondingly increased sensitivities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-507
Number of pages13
JournalAstroparticle Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


  • Dark matter
  • Liquid argon
  • WIMP


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