Material of the Month: Germanium

Germanium, is a hard, brittle semimetal that first came into use a half-century ago as a semiconductor material in radar units and as the material from which the first transistor was made. Today, germanium is mainly used in electronics and solar applications, fiber-optic systems, infrared optics, polymerization catalysts, and other uses (such as chemotherapy, metallurgy, and phosphors). Germanium-containing infrared optics were primarily for military use, but the commercial applications for thermal-imaging devices that use germanium lenses have increased during the past few years. In the earth crust, germanium seldom appears in high concentrations. Due to its highly dispersive nature, it is mostly recovered as a byproduct of zinc smelting, although […]