A brief introduction to the element “germanium”

Today’s introduction of the element germanium, what do you know about the element germanium? Come and understand today!


Germanium is a chemical element, insoluble in water, hydrochloric acid, dilute caustic alkali solution, soluble in aqua regia, concentrated nitric acid or sulfuric acid, and has both sexes, so it is soluble in molten alkali, alkali peroxide, alkali metal nitric acid Salt or carbonate is more stable in the air. In nature, germanium has five isotopes: 70, 72, 73, 74, 76. It reacts with oxygen above 700 °C to form GeO2, and reacts with hydrogen above 1000 °C. Fine powder germanium can be burned in chlorine or bromine. Germanium is an excellent semiconductor, which can be used for high frequency current detection and rectification of alternating current. In addition, it can be used in infrared light materials, precision instruments, and catalysts. Germanium compounds can be used to make fluorescent plates and various glasses with high refractive index.

Germanium, tin, and lead belong to the same family in the periodic table. The latter two have been discovered and used by ancient people, but germanium has not been exploited on an industrial scale for a long time. This is not due to the low content of germanium in the earth’s crust, but because it is one of the most dispersed elements in the earth’s crust, and there are few ores containing germanium.

Chemical properties:

Germanium is chemically stable and does not interact with air or water vapor at room temperature, but at 600 to 700°C, germanium dioxide is quickly generated. Does not work with hydrochloric acid and dilute sulfuric acid. When concentrated sulfuric acid is heated, germanium will slowly dissolve. In nitric acid and aqua regia, germanium is easily dissolved. The effect of alkali solution and germanium is very weak, but the molten alkali in the air can quickly dissolve germanium. Germanium and carbon do not work, so they melt in the graphite crucible and will not be contaminated by carbon.

Germanium is stable at room temperature, but it also produces a single-layer GeO film, which will gradually become a single-layer GeO2 film over time. When the surface of germanium absorbs water vapor, it destroys the passivation properties of the oxide film and generates thick oxide.

Germanium oxidizes at a higher temperature, and is accompanied by weightlessness. The reason is that GeO is generated due to its strong volatility. The researchers studied the process of germanium surface oxidation, first reducing the germanium with CO at 600 ℃ to exclude the bound or adsorbed oxygen on the germanium surface. Then the germanium oxide is oxidized at an oxygen pressure of 10 kPa at 25 to 400°C, and the first oxide layer is formed in only 1 minute. When the temperature exceeds 250°C, a second oxide layer is quickly formed. When the temperature is increased, the oxidation rate becomes significantly slower. It was oxidized at 400°C for 3h to form a GeO2 film with a thickness of 1.75nm.


The main purpose:

Industrial applications

Germanium has many special properties, and it has extensive and important applications in the fields of semiconductors, aerospace measurement and control, nuclear physical detection, optical fiber communication, infrared optics, solar cells, chemical catalysts, biomedicine, etc. It is an important strategic resource . In the electronics industry, in alloy pretreatment, in the optical industry, it can also be used as a catalyst.

High-purity germanium is a semiconductor material. It can be obtained by reduction from high-purity germanium oxide and smelting. The germanium single crystal doped with trace specific impurities can be used to make various transistors, rectifiers and other devices. Germanium compounds are used to make fluorescent plates and various high-refractive-index glasses.

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