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Germanium (Ge): Metalloids

Germanium (Ge)

What is Germanium?

Germanium (Ge), a chemical element between silicon and tin in Group 14 (IVa) of the periodic table, a silvery-gray metalloid, intermediate in properties between the metals and the nonmetals. Although germanium was not discovered until 1886 by Clemens Winkler, a German chemist, its existence, properties, and position in the periodic system had been predicted in 1871 by the Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev, who called the hypothetical element ekasilicon. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica

The History

Germanium was discovered by Clemens A. Winkler at Freiberg, Germany, in 1886. Its existence had been predicted by Mendeleev who predicted its atomic weight would be about 71 and that its density around 5.5 g/cm3.

In September 1885 a miner working in the Himmelsfürst silver mine near Freiberg, came across an unusual ore. It was passed to Albin Weisbach at the nearby Mining Academy who certified it was a new mineral, and asked his colleague Winkler to analyse it. He found its composition to be 75% silver, 18% sulfur, and 7% he could not explain. By February 1886, he realised it was a new metal-like element and as its properties were revealed, it became clear that it was the missing element below silicon as Mendeleev had predicted. The mineral from which it came we know as argyrodite, Ag8GeS6. Continue reading from The Royal Society of Chemistry

Germanium Facts

Shiny and silvery, yet very brittle, germanium is an important component in semiconductors and fiber optics. Germanium is one of the few elements that expand when it freezes, like water does. The name "germanium" comes from the Latin name for Germany, named for Winkler's home country. Germanium was tested for use in photodetectors due to its small bandgap, or the easier ability for electrons to jump to a higher energy state, which is common in semiconductor metals. Continue reading from LiveScience

Chart of Elemental Properties for Germanium

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