{ syn. }


{ syn. }

33.6 %

22.95 %

26.8 %

{ syn. }



Erbium is a chemical element with the chemical symbol He and atomic number 68 in the periodic table it is in the group of lanthanides and also making it one of the metals of the rare earths. The name derives from the pit Ytterby in Stockholm, as well as that of ytterbium, terbium and yttrium.


Erbium was discovered in 1843 by Carl Gustav Mosander. However, it was in the supposedly pure oxide to a mixture of the oxides of erbium, scandium, holmium, thulium and ytterbium.

To the later Enlightenment, the chemist Marc Delafontaine and Nils Johan Berlin made ​​deserves. Pure erbium introduced in 1905 by the French chemist Georges Urbain and the American chemist Charles James forth.


Erbium is a rare metal ( 3.5 ppm).

Production and representation

After an extensive separation of the other Erbiumbegleiter the oxide is reacted with hydrogen fluoride to the erbium fluoride. Then is reduced with calcium to form calcium fluoride to the metal erbium. The removal of residual calcium residues and contaminants carried in an additional remelting in a vacuum.


Physical Properties

The silver- white lustrous rare earth metal is malleable, but also quite brittle.

Chemical Properties

In air erbium runs to gray, but is then quite resistant. At higher temperatures it burns to the sesquioxide Er2O3. With water it reacts with evolution of hydrogen to the hydroxide. In mineral acids it dissolves with evolution of hydrogen.

In its compounds it is in the 3 oxidation state, the Er3 ions form in water pink solutions. Solid salts are colored pink.


Erbium -doped optical fiber used for optical amplifiers capable of amplifying a light signal without converting it to an electrical signal. Gold as a host material doped with a few hundred ppm of erbium is used as a sensor material magnetic calorimeter for high-resolution particle detection in physics and engineering.

Erbium is used, among other rare earth elements such as neodymium or Holmium doped laser crystals to solid state lasers, ( Er: YAG laser, see also the Nd: YAG laser). The Er: YAG laser is mainly used in human medicine. It has a wavelength of 2940 nm, and thus an extremely high absorption in the tissue water of about 12,000 per cm.

As a pure beta emitter 169er is used in nuclear medicine for therapy in radiation synovectomy.


  • Erbium ( III) oxide Er2O3
  • Erbium (III ) fluoride ErF3
  • Erbium ( III) chloride ErCl3
  • Erbium (III ) bromide ErBr3
  • Erbium (III ) iodide ErI3
  • Erbium (III ) sulphate Er2 (SO4) 3 · 8 H2O: pink crystals
  • Erbium (III ) nitrate Er ( NO3) 3 · 5H 2 O