E for Erbium

This week had been hectic at work, resulted in me not posting any elements. Will catch up today and post the back logs.

Erbium is a rare earth element. Erbium is named for the small village and mine location in Sweden where the original rare-earth yttrium-bearing mineral was discovered, Ytterby.

In 1843, Swedish chemist and pharmacist Carl Gustav Mosander separated from an impure yttria the known rare-earth elements ceria, lanthana, and didymia, and was left with three oxides, one white, one yellow, and one pink . The white oxide was the previously discovered element yttria, however, the yellow and pink oxides were two new rare earths, which he named, erbia and terbia.

  • Erbium lasers are used in dermatology for skin resurfacing to remove wrinkles.
  • In sunglasses, erbium oxide enhances color perception and improves both contrast and depth perception.
  • Added to cubic zirconia jewelry, decorative glass, and ceramic glazes, erbium oxide produces a delicate light pink colour.
  • The “pink ice” cubic zirconia is colored by erbium oxide.
  • Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe sings Ton Lehrer’s the periodic table song including the line “There’s holmium and helium and hafnium and erbium.”
  • Nuclear control rods in pressurized water reactors (PWR) use erbium alloys to control the fission process by absorbing thermal neutrons.
  • In recycling, Erbium and zinc oxides are added to brown glass making it almost colorless.
  • Erbium oxide is a fiber optic amplifier that allows the light signal to travel great distances without externally boosting the signal.A particular attraction of EDFAs (Erbium Doped Fiber Amplier) is their large gain bandwidth, which is typically tens of nanometers and thus actually more than enough to amplify data channels with the highest data rates without introducing any effects of gain narrowing. We have a lot to thank Erbium for the high speed connectivity that we are enjoying across the world.
  • An erbium-nickel alloy Er3Ni has an unusually high specific heat capacity at liquid-helium temperatures and is used in cryocoolers.

References : Wikipedia, http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/


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