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Nearly a century after Italian physicist Ettore Majorana laid the groundwork for the discovery that electrons could be divided into halves, researchers predict that split photons may also exist, according to a study from Dartmouth and SUNY Polytechnic Institute researchers.

The finding that the building blocks of light can exist in a previously-unimaginable split form advances the fundamental understanding of light and how it behaves.

The theoretical discovery of the split photon—known as a "Majorana boson"—was published in Physical Review Letters.

"This is a major paradigm change of how we understand light in a way that was not believed to be possible," said Lorenza Viola, the James Frank Family Professor of Physics at Dartmouth and senior researcher on the study. "Not only did we find a new physical entity, but it was one that nobody believed could exist."

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