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|Atomic Number:||32||Atomic Symbol:||Ge|
|Atomic Weight:||72.59||Electron Configuration:||2-8-18-4|
|Melting Point:||38.89oC||Boiling Point:||688oC|
|Uses:||catalyst, photocells, vaccum tubes|
History(Latin Germania, Germany) Mendeleev predicted the existence of
Germanium in 1871 as ekasilicon, and the element was discovered by Clemens
Winkler of Germany in 1886.
SourcesThe metal is found in
The element is commercially obtained from the
dusts of smelters processing zinc ores, as well as recovered from combustion
by-products of certain coals.
- argyrodite, a sulfide of germanium and silver;
- germanite, which containes 8 percent of the element;
- zinc ores;
- coal; and
- other minerals.
A large reserve of the elements for future uses
in insured in coal sources.
Germanium can be separated from other metals by
fractional distillation of its volatile tetrachloride. The techniques permit the
production of germanium of ultra-high purity.
- The element is a gray-white metalloid. In its pure state, the element is
crystalline and brittle, retaining its luster in air at room temperature.
- It is a very important semiconductor material.
- Zone-refining techniques have led to production of crystalline germanium for
semiconductor use with an impurity of only one part in 1010.
UsesWhen germanium is doped with arsenic, gallium, or other elements, it is used as a transistor element
in thousands of electronic applications.
The most common use of germanium is
as a semiconductor.
Germanium is also finding many other applications
including use as an alloying agent, as a phosphor in fluorescent lamps, and as a
Germanium and germanium oxide are transparent to the infrared and
are used in infrared spectroscopes and other optical equipment, including
extremely sensitive infrared detectors.
The high index of refraction and
dispersion properties of its oxide's have made germanium useful as a component
of wide-angle camera lenses and microscope objectives.
The field of
organogermanium chemistry is becoming increasingly important.
germanium compounds have a low mammalian toxicity, but a marked activity against
certain bacteria, which makes them useful as chemotherapeutic agents.
CostsThe cost of germanium is about $3/g.