Erbium

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Erbium, 68Er
Erbium-crop.jpg
Erbium
Pronunciation /ˈɜːrbiəm/ (UR-bee-əm)
Appearancesilvery white
Standard atomic weight Ar, std(Er)167.259(3) [1]
Erbium in the periodic table
Hydrogen Helium
Lithium Beryllium Boron Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Fluorine Neon
Sodium Magnesium Aluminium Silicon Phosphorus Sulfur Chlorine Argon
Potassium Calcium Scandium Titanium Vanadium Chromium Manganese Iron Cobalt Nickel Copper Zinc Gallium Germanium Arsenic Selenium Bromine Krypton
Rubidium Strontium Yttrium Zirconium Niobium Molybdenum Technetium Ruthenium Rhodium Palladium Silver Cadmium Indium Tin Antimony Tellurium Iodine Xenon
Caesium Barium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Hafnium Tantalum Tungsten Rhenium Osmium Iridium Platinum Gold Mercury (element) Thallium Lead Bismuth Polonium Astatine Radon
Francium Radium Actinium Thorium Protactinium Uranium Neptunium Plutonium Americium Curium Berkelium Californium Einsteinium Fermium Mendelevium Nobelium Lawrencium Rutherfordium Dubnium Seaborgium Bohrium Hassium Meitnerium Darmstadtium Roentgenium Copernicium Nihonium Flerovium Moscovium Livermorium Tennessine Oganesson


Er

Fm
holmiumerbiumthulium
Atomic number (Z)68
Group group n/a
Period period 6
Block f-block
Element category   Lanthanide
Electron configuration [ Xe ] 4f12 6s2
Electrons per shell2, 8, 18, 30, 8, 2
Physical properties
Phase at  STP solid
Melting point 1802  K (1529 °C,2784 °F)
Boiling point 3141 K(2868 °C,5194 °F)
Density (near r.t.)9.066 g/cm3
when liquid (at m.p.)8.86 g/cm3
Heat of fusion 19.90  kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization 280 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity 28.12 J/(mol·K)
Vapor pressure
P (Pa)1101001 k10 k100 k
at T (K)15041663(1885)(2163)(2552)(3132)
Atomic properties
Oxidation states 0, [2] +1, +2, +3 (a  basic oxide)
Electronegativity Pauling scale: 1.24
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 589.3 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1150 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 2194 kJ/mol
Atomic radius empirical:176  pm
Covalent radius 189±6 pm
Color lines in a spectral range Erbium spectrum visible.png
Color lines in a spectral range
Spectral lines of erbium
Other properties
Natural occurrence primordial
Crystal structure hexagonal close-packed (hcp)
Hexagonal close packed.svg
Speed of sound thin rod2830 m/s(at 20 °C)
Thermal expansion poly: 12.2 µm/(m·K)(r.t.)
Thermal conductivity 14.5 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity poly: 0.860 µΩ·m(r.t.)
Magnetic ordering paramagnetic at 300 K
Magnetic susceptibility +44,300.00·10−6 cm3/mol [3]
Young's modulus 69.9 GPa
Shear modulus 28.3 GPa
Bulk modulus 44.4 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.237
Vickers hardness 430–700 MPa
Brinell hardness 600–1070 MPa
CAS Number 7440-52-0
History
Namingafter Ytterby (Sweden), where it was mined
Discovery Carl Gustaf Mosander (1843)
Main isotopes of erbium
Iso­tope Abun­dance Half-life (t1/2) Decay mode Pro­duct
160Er syn 28.58 h ε 160Ho
162Er0.139% stable
164Er1.601%stable
165Ersyn10.36 hε 165Ho
166Er33.503%stable
167Er22.869%stable
168Er26.978%stable
169Ersyn9.4 d β 169Tm
170Er14.910%stable
171Ersyn7.516 hβ 171Tm
172Ersyn49.3 hβ 172Tm
| references

Erbium is a chemical element with the symbol Er and atomic number 68. A silvery-white solid metal when artificially isolated, natural erbium is always found in chemical combination with other elements. It is a lanthanide, a rare earth element, originally found in the gadolinite mine in Ytterby in Sweden, from which it got its name.

Contents

Erbium's principal uses involve its pink-colored Er3+ ions, which have optical fluorescent properties particularly useful in certain laser applications. Erbium-doped glasses or crystals can be used as optical amplification media, where Er3+ ions are optically pumped at around 980 or 1480 nm and then radiate light at 1530 nm in stimulated emission. This process results in an unusually mechanically simple laser optical amplifier for signals transmitted by fiber optics. The 1550 nm wavelength is especially important for optical communications because standard single mode optical fibers have minimal loss at this particular wavelength.

In addition to optical fiber amplifier-lasers, a large variety of medical applications (i.e. dermatology, dentistry) rely on the erbium ion's 2940 nm emission (see Er:YAG laser) when lit at another wavelength, which is highly absorbed in water in tissues, making its effect very superficial. Such shallow tissue deposition of laser energy is helpful in laser surgery, and for the efficient production of steam which produces enamel ablation by common types of dental laser.

Characteristics

Physical properties

Erbium(III)chloride in sunlight, showing some pink fluorescence of Er from natural ultraviolet. Erbium(III)chloride sunlight.jpg
Erbium(III)chloride in sunlight, showing some pink fluorescence of Er from natural ultraviolet.

A trivalent element, pure erbium metal is malleable (or easily shaped), soft yet stable in air, and does not oxidize as quickly as some other rare-earth metals. Its salts are rose-colored, and the element has characteristic sharp absorption spectra bands in visible light, ultraviolet, and near infrared. Otherwise it looks much like the other rare earths. Its sesquioxide is called erbia. Erbium's properties are to a degree dictated by the kind and amount of impurities present. Erbium does not play any known biological role, but is thought to be able to stimulate metabolism. [4]

Erbium is ferromagnetic below 19 K, antiferromagnetic between 19 and 80 K and paramagnetic above 80 K. [5]

Erbium can form propeller-shaped atomic clusters Er3N, where the distance between the erbium atoms is 0.35 nm. Those clusters can be isolated by encapsulating them into fullerene molecules, as confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. [6]

Chemical properties

Erbium metal tarnishes slowly in air and burns readily to form erbium(III) oxide:

4 Er + 3 O2 → 2 Er2O3

Erbium is quite electropositive and reacts slowly with cold water and quite quickly with hot water to form erbium hydroxide:

2 Er (s) + 6 H2O (l) → 2 Er(OH)3 (aq) + 3 H2 (g)

Erbium metal reacts with all the halogens:

2 Er (s) + 3 F2 (g) → 2 ErF3 (s) [pink]
2 Er (s) + 3 Cl2 (g) → 2 ErCl3 (s) [violet]
2 Er (s) + 3 Br2 (g) → 2 ErBr3 (s) [violet]
2 Er (s) + 3 I2 (g) → 2 ErI3 (s) [violet]

Erbium dissolves readily in dilute sulfuric acid to form solutions containing hydrated Er(III) ions, which exist as rose red [Er(OH2)9]3+ hydration complexes: [7]

2 Er (s) + 3 H2SO4 (aq) → 2 Er3+ (aq) + 3 SO2−
4
(aq) + 3 H2 (g)

Isotopes

Naturally occurring erbium is composed of 6 stable isotopes, 162
Er
, 164
Er
, 166
Er
, 167
Er
, 168
Er
, and 170
Er
, with 166
Er
being the most abundant (33.503% natural abundance). 29 radioisotopes have been characterized, with the most stable being 169
Er
with a half-life of 9.4 d, 172
Er
with a half-life of 49.3 h, 160
Er
with a half-life of 28.58 h, 165
Er
with a half-life of 10.36 h, and 171
Er
with a half-life of 7.516 h. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives that are less than 3.5 h, and the majority of these have half-lives that are less than 4 minutes. This element also has 13 meta states, with the most stable being 167m
Er
with a half-life of 2.269 s. [8]

The isotopes of erbium range in atomic weight from 142.9663  u (143
Er
) to 176.9541 u (177
Er
). The primary decay mode before the most abundant stable isotope, 166
Er
, is electron capture, and the primary mode after is beta decay. The primary decay products before 166
Er
are element 67 (holmium) isotopes, and the primary products after are element 69 (thulium) isotopes. [8]

History

Erbium (for Ytterby, a village in Sweden) was discovered by Carl Gustaf Mosander in 1843. [9] Mosander was working with a sample of what was thought to be the single metal oxide yttria, derived from the mineral gadolinite. He discovered that the sample contained at least two metal oxides in addition to pure yttria, which he named "erbia" and "terbia" after the village of Ytterby where the gadolinite had been found. Mosander was not certain of the purity of the oxides and later tests confirmed his uncertainty. Not only did the "yttria" contain yttrium, erbium, and terbium; in the ensuing years, chemists, geologists and spectroscopists discovered five additional elements: ytterbium, scandium, thulium, holmium, and gadolinium. [10] :701 [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

Erbia and terbia, however, were confused at this time. A spectroscopist mistakenly switched the names of the two elements during spectroscopy. After 1860, terbia was renamed erbia and after 1877 what had been known as erbia was renamed terbia. Fairly pure Er2 O 3 was independently isolated in 1905 by Georges Urbain and Charles James. Reasonably pure erbium metal was not produced until 1934 when Wilhelm Klemm and Heinrich Bommer reduced the anhydrous chloride with potassium vapor. [16] It was only in the 1990s that the price for Chinese-derived erbium oxide became low enough for erbium to be considered for use as a colorant in art glass. [17]

Occurrence

Monazite sand MonaziteUSGOV.jpg
Monazite sand

The concentration of erbium in the Earth crust is about 2.8 mg/kg and in the sea water 0.9 ng/L. [18] This concentration is enough to make erbium about 45th in elemental abundance in the Earth's crust.

Like other rare earths, this element is never found as a free element in nature but is found bound in monazite sand ores. It has historically been very difficult and expensive to separate rare earths from each other in their ores but ion-exchange chromatography methods [19] developed in the late 20th century have greatly brought down the cost of production of all rare-earth metals and their chemical compounds.

The principal commercial sources of erbium are from the minerals xenotime and euxenite, and most recently, the ion adsorption clays of southern China; in consequence, China has now become the principal global supplier of this element. In the high-yttrium versions of these ore concentrates, yttrium is about two-thirds of the total by weight, and erbia is about 4–5%. When the concentrate is dissolved in acid, the erbia liberates enough erbium ion to impart a distinct and characteristic pink color to the solution. This color behavior is similar to what Mosander and the other early workers in the lanthanides would have seen in their extracts from the gadolinite minerals of Ytterby.

Production

Crushed minerals are attacked by hydrochloric or sulfuric acid that transforms insoluble rare-earth oxides into soluble chlorides or sulfates. The acidic filtrates are partially neutralized with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to pH 3–4. Thorium precipitates out of solution as hydroxide and is removed. After that the solution is treated with ammonium oxalate to convert rare earths into their insoluble oxalates. The oxalates are converted to oxides by annealing. The oxides are dissolved in nitric acid that excludes one of the main components, cerium, whose oxide is insoluble in HNO3. The solution is treated with magnesium nitrate to produce a crystallized mixture of double salts of rare-earth metals. The salts are separated by ion exchange. In this process, rare-earth ions are sorbed onto suitable ion-exchange resin by exchange with hydrogen, ammonium or cupric ions present in the resin. The rare earth ions are then selectively washed out by suitable complexing agent. [18] Erbium metal is obtained from its oxide or salts by heating with calcium at 1450 °C under argon atmosphere. [18]

Applications

Erbium-colored glass Erbium-glass.jpg
Erbium-colored glass

Erbium's everyday uses are varied. It is commonly used as a photographic filter,[ citation needed ] and because of its resilience it is useful as a metallurgical additive.

Lasers and optics

A large variety of medical applications (i.e. dermatology, dentistry) utilize erbium ion's 2940 nm emission (see Er:YAG laser), which is highly absorbed in water (absorption coefficient about 12000/cm). Such shallow tissue deposition of laser energy is necessary for laser surgery, and the efficient production of steam for laser enamel ablation in dentistry.[ citation needed ]

Erbium-doped optical silica-glass fibers are the active element in erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs), which are widely used in optical communications. [20] The same fibers can be used to create fiber lasers. In order to work efficiently, erbium-doped fiber is usually co-doped with glass modifiers/homogenizers, often aluminum or phosphorus. These dopants help prevent clustering of Er ions and transfer the energy more efficiently between excitation light (also known as optical pump) and the signal. Co-doping of optical fiber with Er and Yb is used in high-power Er/Yb fiber lasers. Erbium can also be used in erbium-doped waveguide amplifiers. [4]

Metallurgy

When added to vanadium as an alloy, erbium lowers hardness and improves workability. [21] An erbium-nickel alloy Er3Ni has an unusually high specific heat capacity at liquid-helium temperatures and is used in cryocoolers; a mixture of 65% Er3 Co and 35% Er0.9 Yb 0.1Ni by volume improves the specific heat capacity even more. [22] [23]

Coloring

Erbium oxide has a pink color, and is sometimes used as a colorant for glass, cubic zirconia and porcelain. The glass is then often used in sunglasses and cheap jewelry. [21] [24]

Others

Erbium is used in nuclear technology in neutron-absorbing control rods. [4] [25]

Biological role

Erbium does not have a biological role, but erbium salts can stimulate metabolism. Humans consume 1 milligram of erbium a year on average. The highest concentration of erbium in humans is in the bones, but there is also erbium in the human kidneys and liver. [4]

Toxicity

Erbium is slightly toxic if ingested, but erbium compounds are not toxic. [4] Metallic erbium in dust form presents a fire and explosion hazard. [26] [27] [28]

Related Research Articles

Holmium Chemical element with atomic number 67

Holmium is a chemical element with the symbol Ho and atomic number 67. Part of the lanthanide series, holmium is a rare-earth element.

Lanthanum Chemical element with atomic number 57

Lanthanum is a chemical element with the symbol La and atomic number 57. It is a soft, ductile, silvery-white metal that tarnishes slowly when exposed to air and is soft enough to be cut with a knife. It is the eponym of the lanthanide series, a group of 15 similar elements between lanthanum and lutetium in the periodic table, of which lanthanum is the first and the prototype. It is also sometimes considered the first element of the 6th-period transition metals, which would put it in group 3, although lutetium is sometimes placed in this position instead. Lanthanum is traditionally counted among the rare earth elements. The usual oxidation state is +3. Lanthanum has no biological role in humans but is essential to some bacteria. It is not particularly toxic to humans but does show some antimicrobial activity.

Lutetium Chemical element with atomic number 71

Lutetium is a chemical element with the symbol Lu and atomic number 71. It is a silvery white metal, which resists corrosion in dry air, but not in moist air. Lutetium is the last element in the lanthanide series, and it is traditionally counted among the rare earths. Lutetium is sometimes considered the first element of the 6th-period transition metals, although lanthanum is more often considered as such.

Scandium Chemical element with atomic number 21

Scandium is a chemical element with the symbol Sc and atomic number 21. A silvery-white metallic d-block element, it has historically been classified as a rare-earth element, together with yttrium and the lanthanides. It was discovered in 1879 by spectral analysis of the minerals euxenite and gadolinite from Scandinavia.

Terbium Chemical element with atomic number 65

Terbium is a chemical element with the symbol Tb and atomic number 65. It is a silvery-white, rare earth metal that is malleable, ductile, and soft enough to be cut with a knife. The ninth member of the lanthanide series, terbium is a fairly electropositive metal that reacts with water, evolving hydrogen gas. Terbium is never found in nature as a free element, but it is contained in many minerals, including cerite, gadolinite, monazite, xenotime, and euxenite.

Thulium Chemical element with atomic number 69

Thulium is a chemical element with the symbol Tm and atomic number 69. It is the thirteenth and third-last element in the lanthanide series. Like the other lanthanides, the most common oxidation state is +3, seen in its oxide, halides and other compounds; because it occurs so late in the series, however, the +2 oxidation state is also stabilized by the nearly full 4f shell that results. In aqueous solution, like compounds of other late lanthanides, soluble thulium compounds form coordination complexes with nine water molecules.

Ytterbium Chemical element with atomic number 70

Ytterbium is a chemical element with the symbol Yb and atomic number 70. It is the fourteenth and penultimate element in the lanthanide series, which is the basis of the relative stability of its +2 oxidation state. However, like the other lanthanides, its most common oxidation state is +3, as in its oxide, halides, and other compounds. In aqueous solution, like compounds of other late lanthanides, soluble ytterbium compounds form complexes with nine water molecules. Because of its closed-shell electron configuration, its density and melting and boiling points differ significantly from those of most other lanthanides.

Ytterby mine on Resarö, Vaxholm municipality, Stockholm archipelago, Sweden

Ytterby is a village on the Swedish island of Resarö, in Vaxholm Municipality in the Stockholm archipelago. Today the residential area is dominated by suburban homes.

Praseodymium Chemical element with atomic number 59

Praseodymium is a chemical element with the symbol Pr and atomic number 59. It is the third member of the lanthanide series and is traditionally considered to be one of the rare-earth metals. Praseodymium is a soft, silvery, malleable and ductile metal, valued for its magnetic, electrical, chemical, and optical properties. It is too reactive to be found in native form, and pure praseodymium metal slowly develops a green oxide coating when exposed to air.

Group 3 element group of chemical elements

Group 3 is a group of elements in the periodic table. This group, like other d-block groups, should contain four elements, but it is not agreed what elements belong in the group. Scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y) are always included, but the other two spaces are usually occupied by lanthanum (La) and actinium (Ac), or by lutetium (Lu) and lawrencium (Lr); less frequently, it is considered the group should be expanded to 32 elements or contracted to contain only scandium and yttrium. When the group is understood to contain all of the lanthanides, it subsumes the rare-earth metals. Yttrium, and less frequently scandium, are sometimes also counted as rare-earth metals.

Carl Gustaf Mosander Swedish chemist and mineralogist

Carl Gustaf Mosander was a Swedish chemist. He discovered the rare earth elements lanthanum, erbium and terbium.

Marc Delafontaine was a Swiss chemist and spectroscopist who was involved in discovering and investigating some of the rare earth elements.

Yttrium(III) oxide chemical compound

Yttrium oxide, also known as yttria, is Y2O3. It is an air-stable, white solid substance. Yttrium oxide is used as a common starting material for both materials science as well as inorganic compounds.

Holmium(III) oxide chemical compound

Holmium(III) oxide, or holmium oxide is a chemical compound of a rare-earth element holmium and oxygen with the formula Ho2O3. Together with dysprosium(III) oxide (Dy2O3) holmium oxide is one of the most powerfully paramagnetic substances known. The oxide, also called holmia, occurs as a component of the related erbium oxide mineral called erbia. Typically the oxides of the trivalent lanthanides coexist in nature and separation of these components requires specialized methods. Holmium oxide is used in making specialty colored glasses. Glass containing holmium oxide and holmium oxide solutions have a series of sharp optical absorption peaks in the visible spectral range. They are therefore traditionally used as a convenient calibration standard for optical spectrophotometers.

Lanthanum oxide Chemical compound

Lanthanum oxide, also known as lanthana, chemical formula La2O3, is an inorganic compound containing the rare earth element lanthanum and oxygen. It is used in some ferroelectric materials, as a component of optical materials, and is a feedstock for certain catalysts, among other uses.

Erbium(III) oxide chemical compound

Erbium(III) oxide, is synthesized from the lanthanide metal erbium. It was partially isolated by Carl Gustaf Mosander in 1843, and first obtained in pure form in 1905 by Georges Urbain and Charles James. It has a pink color with a cubic crystal structure. Under certain conditions erbium oxide can also have a hexagonal form. Erbium oxide is toxic when inhaled, taken orally, or injected into the blood stream in massive amounts. The effect of erbium oxides in low concentrations on humans over long periods of time has not been determined.

Carl Axel Arrhenius Swedish chemist

Carl Axel Arrhenius was an officer in the Swedish army and an amateur geologist and chemist. He is best known for his discovery of the mineral ytterbite in 1787.

Yttrium Chemical element with atomic number 39

Yttrium is a chemical element with the symbol Y and atomic number 39. It is a silvery-metallic transition metal chemically similar to the lanthanides and has often been classified as a "rare-earth element". Yttrium is almost always found in combination with lanthanide elements in rare-earth minerals, and is never found in nature as a free element. 89Y is the only stable isotope, and the only isotope found in the Earth's crust.

A dopant, also called a doping agent, is a trace of impurity element that is introduced into a chemical material to alter its original electrical or optical properties. The amount of dopant necessary to cause changes is typically very low. When doped into crystalline substances, the dopant's atoms get incorporated into its crystal lattice. The crystalline materials are frequently either crystals of a semiconductor such as silicon and germanium for use in solid-state electronics, or transparent crystals for use in the production of various laser types; however, in some cases of the latter, noncrystalline substances such as glass can also be doped with impurities.

Nils Johan Berlin Swedish Chemist

Nils Johan Berlin was a Swedish chemist and physician, who held various professorships at the University of Lund from 1843 to 1864. Berlin was the first chemist who took the initiative to write a textbook on elementary science, the purpose being to provide basic science education for the general public.

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Further reading