(AGI) L'Aquila, June 22 - The first DarkSide physics detector,DarkSide-50, was officially launched at the Gran Sasso NationalLaboratory (LNGS) in Italy. The laboratory forms part of theNational Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), which began togather data for the project in April. The event was attended byLNGS Director Stefano Ragazzi, INFN President FeranandoFerroni, U.S. Ambassador to Italy John Phillips, CristianGalbiati of Princeton University, collaboration coordinatoralong with IFN's Gioacchino Ranucci, and Ken Havens of KinderMorgan, the company that supplies the low-activity argon neededfor the experiment. Jim Whitmore from the U.S. National ScienceFoundation (NSF), which is funding DarkSide, along with INFNand the Department of Energy (DOE), was also present. Theimportance of the project was underscored by the presence ofthose taking part in the event, said Fernando Ferroni: "Thishas been a great collaboration of INFN with two leading U.S.agencies, especially with the belief that the best detector inits field for identifying dark matter was being built."Launching DarkSide-50 was the realisation of many years' work,said Cristian Galbiati, who is also a researcher at INFN inMilan and teaches at Princeton. The pre-launch tests haddemonstrated that the DarkSide technology was uniquely placedto carry out a complete dark matter exploration programme.DarkSide representated a great qualitative leap in the field ofcutting-edge research into dark matter, said GioacchinoRanucci. With its kernel of ultrapure argon, surrounded by asophisticated protection system against potential sources ofdisturbance, the device was capable of exploring in an idealsituation with an almost entire lack of background, which wascrucial to the positive identification of the elusive andfleeting particles of dark matter, concluded Ranucci. Galbiatiadded that dark matter even in high scale masses of well over10 TeV could be detected, therefore at energies inaccessibleeven in experiments taking place in CERN. The Gran SassoLaboratories had thus become the true energy frontier for newphysics over and above the standard model, he concluded. (AGI). .