Indium

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Indium
Name Indium
Symbol In
Atomic number 49
Atomic mass 114.818 amu
Normal state Solid
Classification Poor Metals
Crystal structure Face-centered tetragonal
Density 7.310 g/cm^3
Color Silvery-white
Number of Stable Isotopes 2
Date of discovery 1863
Name of discoverer Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymous Richter
Name origin From the indigo blue it shows in a spectroscope.
Uses Used as a coating for high speed bearings, in high-quality mirrors, solar cells, nuclear power regulators, photo cells, thermistors, transistors, and LCD displays. Also employed in low-melting alloys for safety devices.
Obtained from Found in some zinc ores, but is primarily produced as a by-product of lead and zinc smelting.


Indium is an element in the "poor metals" class (beyond the transition metals, before the nonmetals) of the periodic table. It is soft and silvery-white. It is stable in air and water, but dissolves in acids. It has two stable isotopes (actually one, but another one has a half-life of over 1014 years).

Indium was discovered spectroscopically (many 19th century element discoveries were made this way) while searching for thallium in zinc ores.

Indium oxide, mixed with a small amount of tin(II) oxide, has the remarkable and very useful property of being a transparent conductor of electricity. This makes it useful as the front electrode of liquid crystal displays (LCD).

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