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Sapienza wins an ERC Consolidator Grant with the Danae project on neutrinos and dark matter

The Danae project, coordinated by Marco Vignati of the Department of Physics, has received €2.6 million in funding from the European Commission

Sapienza University of Rome has obtained a new prestigious grant from the European Union, with the award of an ERC Consolidator Grant to the Danae project, coordinated by Marco Vignati of the Department of Physics. The project will deepen the precision study of neutrinos and dark matter.

In particle physics, neutrino research has produced numerous results in recent years, and new discoveries could be close at hand. The study of these elusive particles could indeed help answer crucial questions about the evolution of the Universe, such as the mechanism of creation of matter, or highlight new types of fundamental interactions.

Perhaps even more intriguing is the search for dark matter, a form of unknown matter that is five times more abundant in the Universe than luminous matter such as stars and galaxies. The search in this field is challenging; for more than 30 years, scholars worldwide have been looking for dark matter particles that have never been found.

The Danae project aims to achieve unprecedented sensitivity in the study of low-energy neutrinos and the search for dark matter by measuring the faint signals these particles produce as they pass through matter. The aim is to carry out a pilot experiment in Sapienza's laboratories, in collaboration with the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, using arrays of thousands of superconductive, monolithic, yet highly segmented detectors for the first time.

If successful, new hypothetical dark matter particles can be searched for, and the properties of neutrinos can be measured with unprecedented precision.

The European Research Council (ERC) is the EU body that funds researchers of excellence of all ages and nationalities who wish to carry out frontier research in EU Member States or associated countries. The ERC Consolidator Grant is aimed at researchers with 7-12 years of postdoctoral experience who aim to consolidate their research independence by setting up a research team and continuing to develop a successful career in Europe. Application for this funding scheme is also possible if the applicant researcher has recently established an independent and excellent research team and intends to strengthen it.

Friday, 12 May 2023

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