Could DAMA’s ‘Dark Matter Signal…

Could DAMA’s ‘Dark Matter Signal’ Simply Be Poorly Analyzed Noise?

“To date, DAMA has shown that a non-constant signal exists with 13-sigma significance. (5-sigma is normally the gold standard for experimental physics.) If they made their overall event rate publicly available, it would be easy to check — even just by eye — whether the modulation is real or whether there’s a noise floor that’s changing over time. Until they release their data, we cannot have any confidence that they haven’t fallen through this loophole.

As Nicola Rossi pointed out, “if the background is either increasing or decreasing an artificial modulation is introduced in the residual rate and it interferes with a possible real modulation.” Whether DAMA’s signal is real, and how strong it is if it is real, cannot be established without independently checking this very basic piece of raw data. If the data shows an annual growth in their noise of even just a few percent, their signal will vanish entirely.”

For around 20 years now, one and only one experiment has claimed to have directly detected a signal that would be consistent with dark matter: the DAMA collaboration. By looking for collisions with their targets that yield a specific amount of energy in their detector, they run similarly to a large number of complementary detectors. But only DAMA has seen a signal, and they have steadfastly refused to release either their raw data or their analysis pipeline, making independent verification difficult. Two attempts at verification, COSINE and ANAIS, have failed to reproduce their signal.

Earlier this month, a new paper came out contending that simply a poor analysis of their noise could mimic this signal at the full 13-sigma significance. Is DAMA too good to be true?