Germanium has 4 valence electrons. Germanium is a p-block element and its electronic configuration is [Ar] 3d10 4s2 4p2.

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What is germanium used for?

Germanium has a wide range of uses some of the following are:

Silicon-Germanium alloys are used in high-speed integrated circuits and other semiconductors.

Gallium arsenide is used in solar cells and satellites.

Germanium dioxide is used as a catalyst in polymerization of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

It is used in semiconductor detectors and in detectors for gamma spectroscopy.

It is used in optics (fibre-optics and infrared optics) etc

It is also used in metallurgy and chemotherapy.


When was germanium discovered?

Germanium was predicted by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. He called it ekasilicon (Es) and estimated its atomic weight to be 70 ( which is 72). A German chemist by the name of Clemens Winkler isolated and discovered Germanium in 1886. He named it germanium (from the Latin word, Germania, for Germany).

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What is germanium?

Germanium is a chemical element that has an atomic number 32. Its standard atomic weight is 72.630 and it is represented by the symbol Ge. It is in group 14  (carbon group) and period 4 of the periodic table. It is a metalloid and a p-block element. It has a grayish-white appearance. Its electronic configuration is 1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s2, 3d10, 4p2. Germanium has 32 electrons, 32 protons and 41 neutrons. It has density of 5.323 g/cm3 at STP. It is solid at room temperature, its melting point is 1211.40 K ?(938.25 °C, ?1720.85 °F) and its boiling point is 3106 K ?(2833 °C, ?5131 °F).

The first ionization energy for Germanium required is 762 kJ/mol. The electronegativity of Germanium is 2.01 ( Pauling scale) and its oxidation states can be −4 −3, −2, −1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4 depending on the properties of the binding atom or species. 

Germanium has five naturally occurring isotopes in which Germanium-76 is slightly radioactive. The element was predicted by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Later on, it was isolated and discovered by German chemist Clemens Winkler in 1886. He named the element after his homeland Germany (Germanium).

The major producer of Germanium is China, Russia and the United States. The annual production for the year 2011 was 118 tonnes in which 80 tonnes was produced by China.

Germanium has a wide range of application. Some of the following are.

It has a wide range of uses in optics especially in fibre-optics and infrared optics. Germanium dioxide is used in the Polymerization of polyethylene terephthalate  (PET) as a catalyst. It is used in solar panels and solar cells. It is used in multijunction photovoltaic cells for space applications. In electronics, Silicon-germanium alloys are used in semiconductors .