Inelastic dark matter and DAMA/LIBRA: An experimentum crucis

Douglas P. Finkbeiner, Tongyan Lin, Neal Weiner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The DAMA/LIBRA Collaboration has detected an annual modulation of the recoil rate in NaI crystals with the phase expected for weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) scattering events. This signal is dramatically inconsistent with upper limits from other experiments for elastically scattering weak-scale WIMPs. However, the results are compatible for the case of inelastic dark matter (iDM). The iDM theory, as implemented by Tucker-Smith and Weiner, constrains the WIMP to a tight contour in σn-δ space, where δ is the mass difference between the ground state and excited WIMPs. An urgent priority in direct detection is to test this scenario. The crucial test of the iDM explanation of DAMA-an experimentum crucis-is an experiment with directional sensitivity, which can measure the daily modulation in direction. Because the contrast can be 100%, it is a sharper test than the much smaller annual modulation in the rate. We estimate the significance of such an experiment as a function of the WIMP mass, cross section, background rate, and other parameters. The proposed experiment severely constrains the DAMA/iDM scenario even with modest exposure (∼1000kg•day) on gaseous xenon.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number115008
    JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Dec 15 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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