Germanium

Images

Image

Attribution: Jurii

Animated Germanium

History

From the Latin word Germania, Germany. Mendeleev predicted the existence of Germanium in 1871 as ekasilicon, and the element was discovered by Winkler in 1886.

Sources

The metal is found in

  • argyrodite, a sulfide of germanium and silver;
  • germanite, which contains 8 percent of the element;
  • zinc ores;
  • coal; and
  • other minerals

The element is commercially obtained from the dust from smelters that process zinc ores. It is also recovered from combustion by-products of certain coals.

Germanium can be separated from other metals by fractional distillation of its volatile tetrachloride. These techniques permit the production of germanium of ultra-high purity.

Uses

When 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 catalyst.

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 organo-germanium chemistry is becoming increasingly important. Certain germanium compounds have a low mammalian toxicity, but a marked activity against certain bacteria, which makes them useful as chemotherapeutic agents.

General Info

AtomicNumber
32
Symbol
Ge
Name
Germanium

Atomic Info

Appearance
AtomicWeight
72.64(1)
Color
668F8F
ElectronicConfiguration
[Ar] 3d10 4s2 4p2
ElectronegativityInPauling
2.01
AtomicRadiusInPM
122
IonRadiusInPM
73 (+2)
VanDerWaalsRadiusInPM
IEinKJmol
762
EAinKJmol
-119
OxidationStates
-4, 1, 2, 3, 4
StandardState
solid
BondingType
metallic
MeltingPoint
1211
BoilingPoint
3093
Density
5.32
State
Metalloid
DiscoveredYear
1886