ingredient information
Germanium (pronounced /d??r'me?ni?m/) is a chemical element with the symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is a lustrous, hard, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors tin and silicon. Germanium has five naturally occurring isotopes ranging in atomic mass number from 70 to 76. It forms a large number of organometallic compounds, including tetraethylgermane and isobutylgermane. Because few minerals contain it in large concentration, germanium was discovered comparatively late despite the fact that it is relatively abundant in the Earth's crust. In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev predicted its existence and some of its properties based on its position on his periodic table and called the element ekasilicon. Nearly two decades later, in 1886, Clemens Winkler found it in the mineral argyrodite. Winkler found that experimental observations agreed with Mendeleev's predictions and named the element after his country, Germany. Germanium is an important semiconductor material used in transistors and various other electronic devices. Its major end uses are fiber-optic systems and infrared optics, but it is also used for polymerization catalysts, in electronics and in solar electric applications. Germanium is mined primarily from sphalerite, though it is also recovered from silver, lead, and copper ores. Some germanium compounds, such as germanium chloride and germane, can irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, and throat.