Vallania, P (reprint author), Ist Nazl Fis Nucl, Sez Torino, Via P Giuria, I-10125 Turin, Italy.
We report on the search for gamma ray bursts (GRBs) in the energy range 1-100 GeV in coincidence with the prompt emission detected by satellites using the Astrophysical Radiation with Ground-based Observatory at YangBaJing (ARGO-YBJ) air shower detector. Thanks to its mountain location (Yangbajing, Tibet, People's Republic of China, 4300 m above sea level), active surface (similar to 6700 m(2) of Resistive Plate Chambers), and large field of view (similar to 2 sr, limited only by the atmospheric absorption), the ARGO-YBJ air shower detector is particularly suitable for the detection of unpredictable and short duration events such as GRBs. The search is carried out using the "single particle technique," i.e., counting all the particles hitting the detector without measurement of the energy and arrival direction of the primary gamma rays. Between 2004 December 17 and 2009 April 7, 81 GRBs detected by satellites occurred within the field of view of ARGO-YBJ (zenith angle theta <= 45 degrees). It was possible to examine 62 of these for > 1 GeV counterpart in the ARGO-YBJ data finding no statistically significant emission. With a lack of detected spectra in this energy range fluence upper limits are profitable, especially when the redshift is known and the correction for the extragalactic absorption can be considered. The obtained fluence upper limits reach values as low as 10(-5) erg cm(-2) in the 1-100 GeV energy region. Besides this individual search for a higher energy counterpart, a statistical study of the stack of all the GRBs both in time and in phase was made, looking for a common feature in the GRB high-energy emission. No significant signal has been detected.