Thallium: uses

The following uses for thallium are gathered from a number of sources as well as from anecdotal comments. I'd be delighted to receive corrections as well as additional referenced uses (please use the feedback mechanism to add uses).

  • the sulphate was widely used as a rodenticide and ant killer. It is odourless and tasteless, giving no warning of its presence
  • the electrical conductivity of thallium sulphide changes with exposure to infrared light, and so it is used in photocells
  • thallium bromide-iodide crystals are used as infrared detectors
  • used, with sulphur or selenium and arsenic, to produce low melting glasses which become fluid between 125 and 150°C
  • originally used in treating ringworm and other skin infections. Its use was limited because of the narrow margin between toxicity and therapeutic benefits
  • A mercury-thallium alloy, which forms a eutectic at 8.5% thallium, freezes at -60°C, some 20° below the freezing point of mercury

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