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Germanium: the essentials

Germanium atoms have 32 electrons and the shell structure is 2.8.18.4. The ground state electronic configuration of neutral germanium is [Ar].3d10.4s2.4p2 and the term symbol of germanium is 3P0.

Germanium: description  

Germanium is a gray-white semi-metal, and in its pure state is crystalline and brittle, retaining its lustre in air at room temperature. It is a very important semiconductor material. Zone-refining techniques have led to production of crystalline germanium for semiconductor use with an impurity of only one part in 10-10.

Certain germanium compounds have a low mammalian toxicity, but a clear activity against certain bacteria, which makes them of interest as chemotherapeutic agents.

germanium

Germanium: physical properties

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Germanium: heat properties

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Germanium: atom sizes

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Germanium: electronegativities

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Germanium: orbital properties

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Germanium: abundances

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Germanium: crystal structure

Ge crystal structure
The solid state structure of germanium is: bcc (body-centred cubic).

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Germanium: biological data

Germanium has no biological role but is said to stimulate the metabolism.

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Germanium: uses

Uses...

Germanium: reactions

Reactions of germanium as the element with air, water, halogens, acids, and bases where known.

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Germanium: binary compounds

Binary compounds with halogens (known as halides), oxygen (known as oxides), hydrogen (known as hydrides), and other compounds of germanium where known.

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Germanium: compound properties

Bond strengths; lattice energies of germanium halides, hydrides, oxides (where known); and reduction potentials where known.

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Germanium: history

Germanium was discovered by Clemens Winkler in 1886 at Germany. Origin of name: from the Latin word "Germania" meaning "Germany".

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Germanium: isotopes

Isotope abundances of germanium
Isotope abundances of germanium with the most intense signal set to 100%.

Germanium isotopes are mainly used for the production of medical As and Se radioisotopes. Ge-74 is used for the production of As-74, Ge-76 for the production of As-77, Ge-74 for the production of As-73 and Ge-72 for As-72. Ge-70, Ge-72 and Ge-74 can all be used for the production of the medical radioisotope Se-73, although the most common production route is via natural As (As-75). Natural GeF4 is used in the semiconductor pre-amorphisation implant process. The use of Ge-72, in the form of GeF4, improves this process and reduces contamination.

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Germanium: isolation

Isolation: there is normally no need to make germanium in the laboratory as it is readily available commercially. Germanium is available through the treatment of germanium dioxide, GeO2, with carbon or hydrogen. The extraction of germanium from flue dust is complex because of the difficulty in separating it from zinc, which is also present.

GeO2 + 2C → Ge + 2CO

GeO2 + 2H2 → Ge + 2H2O

Very pure germanium can be made by the reaction of GeCl4 with hydrogen.

GeCl4 + 2H2 → Ge + 4HCl