Indium: the essentials

Indium is a very soft, silvery-white metal with a brilliant lustre. The pure metal gives a high-pitched "scream" when bent. It wets glass, as does gallium. It is useful for making low-melting alloys. An alloy of 24% indium and 76% gallium is liquid at room temperature. Canada produces the majority of of the world's supply of indium.

indium wire
Small and large samples of indium wire like this, as well as foil, and sheet, can be purchased from Advent Research Materials via their web catalogue.

Indium: historical information

Indium was discovered by Ferdinand Reich, Hieronymus Theodor Richter in 1863 at Germany. Origin of name: named after the indigo line in its atomic spectrum.

Indium was discovered by Ferdinand Reich and Theodore Richter, who later isolated the metal. It was found and spectroscopically identified as a minor component in zincores. Until 1924, a gram or so constituted the world's supply of this element in isolated form. In fact, it is probably about as abundant as silver.

Indium around us Read more »

Indium has no biological role. In small doses it is said to stimulate the metabolism.

Indium is never found as the free element. Indium usually is associated with zinc minerals, and these form the commercial sources of most indium. It is also found in iron, lead, and copper ores.

Abundances for indium in a number of different environments. More abundance data »
Location ppb by weight ppb by atoms Links
Universe 0.3 0.003 Chemical elements abundance by weight in the universe on a miniature periodic table spark table
Crustal rocks 160 30 Chemical elements abundance by weight in the earth's crust on a miniature periodic table spark table
Human (no data) ppb by weight (no data) atoms relative to C = 1000000 Chemical elements abundance by weight in humans on a miniature periodic table spark table

Physical properties Read more »

Heat properties Read more »

Crystal structure Read more »

The solid state structure of indium is: tetragonal.

Indium: orbital properties Read more »

Indium atoms have 49 electrons and the shell structure is The ground state electronic configuration of neutral Indium is [Kr].4d10.5s2.5p1 and the term symbol of Indium is 2P1/2.


Isolation: indium would not normally be made in the laboratory as it is commercially available. Indium is a byproduct of the formation of lead and zinc. Indium metal is isolated by the electrolysis of indium salts in water. Further processes are required to make very pure indium for electronics purposes.

Indium isotopes Read more »

Indium has two stable isotopes and one of them, In-113, is used for the production of radioisotopes. In-113 is used for the production of Sn-113 and can also be used for the production of the medical radioisotope In-110, although the most common production route for that radioisotope is via Cd-110.

Table. Stables isotopes of indium.
Isotope Mass
(atom %)
spin (I)
moment (μ/μN)
113In 112.904061 (4) 4.29 (5) 9/2 5.5289
115In 114.903882 (4) 95.71 (5) 9/2 5.5408

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