# Half-integer

In mathematics, a half-integer is a number of the form

$n+{1 \over 2}$ ,

where $n$ is an integer. For example,

4½, 7/2, −13/2, 8.5

are all half-integers. Half-integer is perhaps a misnomer, as the set may be misunderstood to include numbers such as 1 (being half the integer 2). A name such as "integer-plus-half" may be more representative, but "half integer" is the traditional term.[citation needed] Half-integers occur frequently enough in mathematics that a distinct term is convenient.

Note that a halving an integer does not always produce a half-integer; this is only true for odd integers. For this reason, half-integers are also sometimes called half-odd-integers. Half-integers are a special case of the dyadic rationals (numbers produced by dividing an integer by a power of two).

## Notation and algebraic structure

The set of all half-integers is often denoted

$\mathbb {Z} +{1 \over 2}.$

The integers and half-integers together form a group under the addition operation, which may be denoted

${\frac {1}{2}}\mathbb {Z}$ .

However, these numbers do not form a ring because the product of two half-integers cannot be itself a half-integer.

## Uses

### Sphere packing

The densest lattice packing of unit spheres in four dimensions (called the D4 lattice) places a sphere at every point whose coordinates are either all integers or all half-integers. This packing is closely related to the Hurwitz integers: quaternions whose real coefficients are either all integers or all half-integers.

### Physics

In physics, the Pauli exclusion principle results from definition of fermions as particles which have spins that are half-integers.

The energy levels of the quantum harmonic oscillator occur at half-integers and thus its lowest energy is not zero.

### Sphere volume

Although the factorial function is defined only for integer arguments, it can be extended to fractional arguments using the gamma function. The gamma function for half-integers is an important part of the formula for the volume of an n-dimensional ball of radius R,

$V_{n}(R)={\frac {\pi ^{n/2}}{\Gamma ({\frac {n}{2}}+1)}}R^{n}.$

The values of the gamma function on half-integers are integer multiples of the square root of pi:

$\Gamma \left({\frac {1}{2}}+n\right)={\frac {(2n-1)!!}{2^{n}}}\,{\sqrt {\pi }}={(2n)! \over 4^{n}n!}{\sqrt {\pi }}$

where n!! denotes the double factorial.