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About Gadolinium

Gadolinium Bohr

Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac discovered an oxide of an unknown element in a sample of gadolinite in 1880 and subsequently named the oxide “gadolinia”. The mineral had been named for Finnish chemist and geologist Johan Gadolin, who had discovered the first rare earth element, yttrium, in 1794. Thus gadolinium, named from its oxide, was only the second element to be named after an individual--the first being samarium, discovered just a year earlier, and which was also named after a mineral that had been named after a geologist.

Gadolinium has several properties that are key to its unique applications. It is probably best known for its magnetic properties. Gadolinum is ferromagnetic below 20 degrees Celsius and paramagnetic above this temperature. Due to these properties, gadolinium compounds are used to enhance contrast between normal and healthy tissue during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning. Gadolinium containing garnets have useful properties which lend them to applications in magneto-optical computer memory devices, however these types of computer memory have been replaced for most applications with alternative technologies that are faster and cheaper. Thin films of the magneto-optical material gadolinium-terbium-iron may also be use for these types of memory devices. Gadolinium also exhibits the magnetocaloric effect, meaning it experiences temperature changes when entering or exiting a magnetic field. This property is exploited gadolinium compounds used in magnetic refrigeration devices. Currently these devices are used primarily in research and industrial settings for ultra low temperature applications, however research developments may eventually make magnetic refrigeration a viable replacement for current commercial refrigeration technology.

An additional notable property of gadolinium is its high adsorption rate of neutrons. In nuclear energy applications, gadolinium is used in radiation shielding and in varying capacities to control the rate of the nuclear reaction. Gadolinium may also be used in neutron radiography, an imaging technology that uses neutrons much in the way x-rays are used in x-ray imaging. This technology is often used in industry for quality control when making precision parts. Gadolinium screens are used in neutron imaging to convert the neutrons that successfully pass through the imaged object into high-energy electrons which can then produce an image on x-ray film.

Gadolinium can also be used to produce compounds which exhibit luminescence either in response to the absorption of visible or near-visible light--these compounds are typically called phosphors--or in response to the absorption of ionizing radiation--these compounds are most often called scintillators. Gadolinium phosphors are used for green light in color display screens. Scintillator compounds containing gadolinium are used in sensors that detect X-rays or neutrons. These sensors are essential for the operation of medical imaging devices such as computed tomography scanners.

Gadolinium-153 is a radioactive isotope that is used in testing and calibration of medical imaging devices, bone density measurements, and in Lixiscope portable x-ray systems. Additionally, it has been investigated for potential use in radiotherapy for cancer.

In a few contexts, gadolinium is used in small quantities to alter the properties of a host material. In metallic alloys, gadolinium is used to to improve the workability of the material and increase resistance to high temperatures and oxidation. Gadolinium-doped garnets can be used in magneto-optical applications as previously mentioned, or may be used in microwave optical communications devices, lasers, or as imitation gemstones. Finally, gadolinium-doped ceria is an important potential electrolyte material for fuel cells, especially as it has higher ion conductivity and lower operating temperatures than the more commonly used yttria stabilized zirconia.

Several gadolinium compounds have been investigated for use as superconductors. Other uses currently in development for gadolinium include luminescent oxygen and temperature sensing compounds, novel high-k dielectrics for semiconductor devices, high temperature piezoelectric compounds for pressure and force detecting sensors, and compounds which can be used to immobilize and thus contain radioactive waste.

Gadolinium is a rare earth element that can be found in varying quantities in most rare-earth containing minerals. It is most commonly extracted from monazite and bastnasite.

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Gadolinium is utilized for both its high magnetic moment (7.94µB) and in phosphors and scintillator material. When complexed with EDTA ligands, it is used as an High Purity (99.999%) Gadolinium (Gd) Sputtering Targetinjectable contrast agent for patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging. With its high magnetic moment, gadolinium can reduce High Purity (99.999%) Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Powderrelaxation times and thereby enhance signal intensity. The extra stable half-full 4f electron shell with no low lying energy levels creates applications as an inert phosphor host. Gadolinium can therefore act as hosts for x-ray cassettes and in scintillator materials for computer tomography. Gadolinium is available as metal and compounds with purities from 99% to 99.999% (ACS grade to ultra-high purity). Elemental or metallic forms include pellets, rod, wire and granules for evaporation source material purposes. Oxides are available in powder and dense pellet form for such uses as optical coating and thin film applications. Oxides tend to be insoluble. Fluorides are another insoluble form for uses in which oxygen is undesirable such as metallurgy, chemical and physical vapor deposition and in some optical coatings. Gadolinium is also available in soluble forms including chlorides, nitrates and acetates. These compounds can be manufactured as solutions at specified stoichiometries.

Gadolinium Properties

Elemental GadoliniumGadolinium is a Block F, Group 3, Period 6 element. Gadolinium Bohr ModelThe number of electrons in each of Gadolinium’s shells is 2, 8, 18, 25, 9, 2 and its electron configuration is [Xe] 4f7 5d1 6s2. The gadolinium atom has a radius of and its Van der Waals radius is In its elemental form, CAS 7440-54-2, gadolinium has a silvery-white appearance. Gadolinium was discovered by Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac in 1880 and first isolated by Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1886. The element is named after the Finnish chemist and geologist Johan Gadolin.

Symbol: Gd
Atomic Number: 64
Atomic Weight: 157.25
Element Category: Lanthanide
Group, Period, Block: n/a, 6, f
Color: silvery-white
Other Names: Gadolinio, Gadolíneo
Melting Point: 1313°C, 2395.4°F, 1586.15 K
Boiling Point: 3273 °C, 5923.4 °F, 3546.15 K
Density: 7901 kg·m3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: 7.4 g·cm3
Density @ 20°C: 7.895 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 7901 kg·m3
Specific Heat: 0.055 Cal/g/K @ 25°C
Superconductivity Temperature: 1.083 [or -272.067 °C (-457.72 °F)] K
Triple Point: N/A
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 15.5
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 301
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 398.94
Thermal Conductivity: 0.105 W/cm/K @ 298.2 K
Thermal Expansion: (100 °C, poly) 9.4 µm/(m·K)
Electrical Resistivity: 140.5 µΩ-cm @ 25°C
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 37.03 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: (? form) 54.8 GPa
Shear Modulus: (? form) 21.8 GPa
Bulk Modulus: (? form) 37.9 GPa
Poisson Ratio: (? form) 0.259
Mohs Hardness: N/A
Vickers Hardness: 570 MPa
Brinell Hardness: N/A
Speed of Sound: (20 °C) 2680 m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: 1.2
Sanderson Electronegativity: N/A
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 1.11
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: N/A
Allen Electronegativity: N/A
Pauling Electropositivity: 2.8
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: N/A
Electrons: 64
Protons: 64
Neutrons: 93
Electron Configuration: [Xe] 4f7 5d1 6s2
Atomic Radius: 180 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 196±6 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.82
Van der Waals Radius: 237 pm
Oxidation States: 1, 2, 3 (mildly basic oxide)
Phase: Solid
Crystal Structure: hexagonal close-packed
Magnetic Ordering: ferromagnetic/paramagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) Unknown
1st Ionization Energy: 593.40 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 1166.52 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 1990.51 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-54-2
EC Number: 231-162-2
MDL Number: MFCD00011022
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Gd]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Gd
PubChem CID: 23982
ChemSpider ID: 22418
Earth - Total: 286 ppb
Mercury - Total: 220 ppb
Venus - Total: 300 ppb
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 0.0007
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 0.000028
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 5200
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 680
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: 2
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: 0.01
Stream, ppb by weight: 0.04
Stream, ppb by atoms: 0.0003
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: 230
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: 30
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: N/A
Universe, ppb by weight: 2
Universe, ppb by atom: 0.02
Discovered By: Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
Discovery Date: 1880
First Isolation: Lecoq de Boisbaudran (1886)

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Gadolinium

Gadolinium can be very toxic. Safety data for Gadolinium and its compounds can vary widely depending on the form. For potential hazard information, toxicity, and road, sea and air transportation limitations, such as DOT Hazard Class, DOT Number, EU Number, NFPA Health rating and RTECS Class, please see the specific material or compound referenced in the Products tab. The following applies to elemental (metallic) Gadolinium.

Safety Data
Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS
Signal Word Warning
Hazard Statements H261
Hazard Codes F
Risk Codes 15
Safety Precautions 43
RTECS Number N/A
Transport Information UN 3208 4.3 / PGIII
WGK Germany 3
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)

Gadolinium Isotopes

Gadolinium (Gd) has 6 stable isotopes: 154Gd, 155Gd, 156Gd, 157Gd, 158Gd and 160Gd.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
134Gd 133.95537(43)# 0.4# s Unknown 0+ N/A 1057.32 -
135Gd 134.95257(54)# 1.1(2) s Unknown 3/2- N/A 1065.4 -
136Gd 135.94734(43)# 1# s [>200 ns] β+ to 136Eu N/A N/A 1082.79 -
137Gd 136.94502(43)# 2.2(2) s β+ to 137Eu 7/2+# N/A 1090.87 -
138Gd 137.94012(21)# 4.7(9) s β+ to 138Eu 0+ N/A 1098.95 -
139Gd 138.93824(21)# 5.7(3) s β+ to 139Eu 9/2-# N/A 1116.34 -
140Gd 139.93367(3) 15.8(4) s β+ to 140Eu 0+ N/A 1124.42 -
141Gd 140.932126(21) 14(4) s β+ to 141Eu; β+ + p to 140Sm (1/2+) N/A 1132.5 -
142Gd 141.92812(3) 70.2(6) s β+ to 142Eu 0+ N/A 1149.89 -
143Gd 142.92675(22) 39(2) s β+ to 143Eu (1/2)+ N/A 1157.97 -
144Gd 143.92296(3) 4.47(6) min β+ to 144Eu 0+ N/A 1166.05 -
145Gd 144.921709(20) 23.0(4) min β+ to 145Eu 1/2+ N/A 1174.13 -
146Gd 145.918311(5) 48.27(10) d EC to 146Eu 0+ N/A 1191.53 -
147Gd 146.919094(3) 38.06(12) h EC to 147Eu 7/2- 1 1199.6 -
148Gd 147.918115(3) 74.6(30) y α to 144Sm 0+ N/A 1207.68 -
149Gd 148.919341(4) 9.28(10) d EC to 149Eu; α to 145Sm 7/2- 0.9 1215.76 -
150Gd 149.918659(7) 1.79(8)E+6 y α to 146Sm 0+ N/A 1223.84 -
151Gd 150.920348(4) 124(1) d EC to 151Eu; α to 147Sm 7/2- 0.8 1222.6 -
152Gd 151.9197910(27) 1.08(8)E+14 y α to 148Sm 0+ N/A 1240 0.2
153Gd 152.9217495(27) 240.4(10) d EC to 153Eu 3/2- 0.4 1238.76 -
154Gd 153.9208656(27) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1246.84 2.18
155Gd 154.9226220(27) Observationally Stable - 3/2- -0.2591 1254.92 14.8
156Gd 155.9221227(27) STABLE - 0+ N/A 1263 20.47
157Gd 156.9239601(27) STABLE - 3/2- -0.3399 1271.08 15.65
158Gd 157.9241039(27) STABLE - 0+ N/A 1279.15 24.84
159Gd 158.9263887(27) 18.479(4) h β- to 159Tb 3/2- -0.44 1287.23 -
160Gd 159.9270541(27) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1295.31 21.86
161Gd 160.9296692(29) 3.646(3) min β- to 161Tb 5/2- N/A 1303.39 -
162Gd 161.930985(5) 8.4(2) min β- to 162Tb 0+ 2 1302.15 -
163Gd 162.93399(32)# 68(3) s β- to 163Tb 7/2+# N/A 1310.23 -
164Gd 163.93586(43)# 45(3) s β- to 164Tb 0+ 1.9 1318.31 -
165Gd 164.93938(54)# 10.3(16) s β- to 165Tb 1/2-# N/A 1326.39 -
166Gd 165.94160(64)# 4.8(10) s β- to 166Tb 0+ 1.8 1325.15 -
167Gd 166.94557(64)# 3# s β- to 167Tb 5/2-# N/A 1333.23 -
168Gd 167.94836(75)# 300# ms β- to 168Tb 0+ 1.4 1341.31 -
169Gd 168.95287(86)# 1# s β- to 169Tb 7/2-# N/A 1340.07 -
Gadolinium Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Gadolinium

  • Gadolinium Enhanced MR-angiography Results in Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease: Positive Predictive Value Compared to Surgery. Mirsharifi SR, Noparast M, Khazravi M, Ghanaati H, Shakiba M, Sharifi A. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Dec 25
  • Determination of selenium in serum in the presence of gadolinium with ICP-QQQ-MS. Bishop DP, Hare DJ, Fryer F, Taudte RV, Cardoso BR, Cole N, Doble PA. Analyst. 2015 Mar 2.
  • Importance of Outer-Sphere and Aggregation Phenomena in the Relaxation Properties of Phosphonated Gadolinium Complexes with Potential Applications as MRI Contrast Agents. Elhabiri M, Abada S, Sy M, Nonat A, Choquet P, Esteban-Gómez D, Cassino C, Platas-Iglesias C, Botta M, Charbonnière LJ. Chemistry. 2015 Mar 6.
  • Intracranial Gadolinium Deposition after Contrast-enhanced MR Imaging. McDonald RJ, McDonald JS, Kallmes DF, Jentoft ME, Murray DL, Thielen KR, Williamson EE, Eckel LJ. Radiology. 2015 Mar 5:150025.
  • Gadolinium Chelate Contrast Material in Pregnancy: Fetal Biodistribution in the Nonhuman Primate. Oh KY, Roberts VH, Schabel MC, Grove KL, Woods M, Frias AE. Radiology. 2015 Mar 11:141488.
  • Modified wideband three-dimensional late gadolinium enhancement MRI for patients with implantable cardiac devices. Rashid S, Rapacchi S, Shivkumar K, Plotnik A, Finn JP, Hu P. Magn Reson Med. 2015 Mar 13.
  • Pathologic correlates of late gadolinium enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance in a heart transplant patient. Pedrotti P, Bonacina E, Vittori C, Frigerio M, Roghi A. Cardiovasc Pathol. 2015 Feb 10.
  • Gadolinium-based nanoparticles for theranostic MRI-radiosensitization. Lux F, Sancey L, Bianchi A, Crémillieux Y, Roux S, Tillement O. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2015 Feb 25:1-15.
  • Prognostic impact of blood pressure response plus gadolinium enhancement in dilated cardiomyopathy. Tateishi E, Noguchi T, Goto Y, Morita Y, Ishibashi-Ueda H, Yamada N, Kanzaki H, Nishimura K, Miyamoto Y, Anzai T, Ogawa H, Yasuda S. Heart. 2015 Mar 11.
  • Late Gadolinium Enhancement Imaging in Assessment of Myocardial Viability: Techniques and Clinical Applications. Jimenez Juan L, Crean AM, Wintersperger BJ. Radiol Clin North Am. 2015 Mar
  • Endolymphatic hydrops detected by 3-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery MRI following intratympanic injection of gadolinium in the asymptomatic contralateral ears of patients with unilateral Ménière's disease. Liu Y, Jia H, Shi J, Zheng H, Li Y, Yang J, Wu H. Med Sci Monit. 2015 Mar 6
  • Distribution profile of gadolinium in gadolinium chelate-treated renally-impaired rats: Role of pharmaceutical formulation. Fretellier N, Salhi M, Schroeder J, Siegmund H, Chevalier T, Bruneval P, Jestin-Mayer G, Delaloge F, Factor C, Mayer JF, Fabicki JM, Robic C, Bonnemain B, Idée JM, Corot C. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2015 Feb 28.
  • Gadolinium modifies the cell membrane to inhibit permeabilization by nanosecond electric pulses. Gianulis EC, Pakhomov AG. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015 Feb 21
  • Low-intensity late gadolinium enhancement predominates in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Naeger DM, Higgins C, De Marco T, Muzzarelli S, Ordovas KG. Clin Imaging. 2015 Jan 14.
  • Improved Wall Motion of Late Gadolinium-Enhanced Myocardium After Complete Surgical Revascularization. Oh SJ, Park EA, Lee W, Hwang HY, Kim KB. Ann Thorac Surg. 2015 Mar 7.
  • One-step synthesis of gradient gadolinium ironhexacyanoferrate nanoparticles: a new particle design easily combining MRI contrast and photothermal therapy. Li Y, Li CH, Talham DR. Nanoscale. 2015 Mar 12
  • Late gadolinium enhancement in sarcoidosis: ventricular wall stress should not be overlooked. Alter P, Vogelmeier CF, Koczulla AR. Chest. 2015 Mar 1