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Atomic symbol Ge
Atomic number 32
Classification Group IVA, Carbon family
Atomic mass 72.59
Number of Stable Isotopes 70, 72, 73, 74, 76
Number of Unstable Isotopes 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 75, 77, 78
Melting point (°C) 937.4 (1,720.85 °F)
Boiling point (°C) 2,830 (5,131 °F)
Density (grams per cc) 5.323
Hardness (Moh's scale) 6.25
Abundance in lithosphere (%) 0.0007
Oxidation states +2, +4
Other Information
Date of discovery 1886
Name of discoverer Clemens Winkler
Name origin From the Latin word Germania, Germany
Uses Semiconductors
Obtained from Refining of copper, zinc, lead

Germanium (jer-MAY-ni-em) is a brittle, silvery-white semi-metal (metalloid).[1]


Germanium was first proposed to exist by Dmitri Mendeleyev in 1871. He had recently created a Periodic Table of Elements, and identified gaps which where unknown elements. Germanium was officially discovered in 1886 by Clemens Winkler, a German chemist. He found it in the mineral argyrodite (Ag8GeS6).


Germanium is primarily used as a semiconductor. With arsenic, gallium, indium, antimony or phosphorus, it is used to make transistors. Another major use for Germanium is lenses. It is used in the manufacture of wide-angle camera lenses and objective lenses for microscopes.[2] It is also used to create alloys and as a phosphor in fluorescent lamps.[3] Additionally, adding 1% germanium to silver prevents tarnishing.[4]



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