Germanium (Ge)

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Germanium 32Ge72.61

Discovered in 1886 by C.A. Winkler at Freiberg, Germany.

[Latin, Germania= Germany]

French: germanium
German: Germanium
Italian: germanio
Spanish: germanio

Description: Ultrapure germanium is a silvery-white brittle metalloid element. It is stable in air and water, is unaffected by acids, expect HNO3, and alkalis. It is used in semiconductors, alloys and special glasses for infrared devices.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, 
cubic (a=565.754), Fs3m, diamond structure
High pressure forms: (a=488.4, c=269.2), I41/amd; (a=593, c=698), P43212; (a=692), b.c.c.

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 75.6 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 64.8 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.8193 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 2.2 sa / barns
Density: 5323 kg/m-3 [293 K]; 5490 [liquid at m.p.]
Melting point: 937.45°C / 1210.6°K
Boiling point: 2829.85°C / 3103°K
Molar volume: 13.64 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 59.9 [300 K] W m-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 5.57 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 0.46 [295 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -1.328 x 10-9(s) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 79.9 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 29.6 GPa
Bulk modulus: n.a.
Poisson's ratio: 0.32 GPa
Radi: Ge2+ 90; Ge4- 272; atomic 123; covalent 122
Electronegativity: 2.01 (Pauling); 2.02 (Allred); 4.6 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 5.65 (Slater); 6.78 (Clementi); 7.92 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 24
Isotope mass range: 64-> 83



Biological data


Biological role: None, but germanium acts to stimulate metabolism.
Toxic intake: Germanium salts gernerally have low toxicity
Lethal intake: LD50 (various, ingestion, rats etc.) = 500 - 5000 mg Kg-1
Hazards: The fumes of GeCl, liquid can irritate the eyes and lungs
Level in humans
Blood: c 0.44 ppm
Bone: n.a.
Liver: 0.15 ppm
Muscle: 0.14 ppm
Daily dietary intake: 0.4 - 1.5 mg 
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
5 mg


Geological data


MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Germanite  Cu26Fe4Ge2S32  4.46   4  cub, met. pale greyish-pink

Chief ores: not mined as such: widely distributed in other minerals and Ge is recovered as a by-product of zinc and copper refining
World production: 80 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: see copper and zinc.
Reserves: n. a.
Specimen: available as chips, pieces or powder. Safe.


Sun: 3160 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 1.8 ppm
Atlantic surface: 0.07 x 10-6 ppm
Atlantic deep: 0.14 x 10-6 ppm
Pacific surface: 0.35 x 10-6 ppm
Pacific deep: 7.00 x 10-6 ppm
Residence time: 20 000 years
Classification: recycled
Oxidation state: IV

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

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Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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