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About Ytterbium

Ytterbium Bohr

Ytterbium oxide was first isolated by Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac from a sample of gadolinite in 1878. Marignac suspected the compound contained a previously unknown element, and named this element “ytterbium” due to the origins of the first gadolinite samples in a mine near Ytterby, Sweden. Ytterbium was the last of four elements to be given a name derived from association with the Ytterby mine, the others being yttrium, terbium, and erbium.

Ytterbium is used most often as a dopant. In crystal and glass structures, ytterbium doping produces laser media and optical fibers. In stainless steel, ytterbium improves grain refinement and strength. Ytterbium may be added to silicon photocells to improve efficiency of solar energy absorption at infrared wavelengths. Ytterbium is also used in thermal barrier coatings on transition metal alloy substrates.

Ytterbium metal has the unique property of increasing in electrical resistance when under stress; this property is exploited in stress gauges for monitoring ground deformations from earthquakes and nuclear explosions. It has also been used to produce an atomic clock with greater accuracy than the cesium atomic clock used as the current time standard. Experimentally, ytterbium is being investigated for a variety of specialized applications, including in highly sensitive small-molecule sensors and medical X-ray computed tomography scan contrast agents.

Ytterbium is a rare earth element and can theoretically be found in any rare earth-containing mineral, but as a heavy rare earth element (HREE) it is more common in HREE-enriched minerals such as xenotime and euxenite. Additionally, ytterbium is present in ion adsorption clays, which are a major source of HREEs due to their relative ease of processing, despite the low percentage quantities of rare earths they contain.

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High Purity (99.999%) Ytterbium (Yb) Sputtering TargetSummary. Ytterbium is being applied to numerous fiber amplifier and fiber optic technologies and in various lasing applications. It has a single dominant absorption band at High Purity (99.999%) Ytterbium Oxide (Yb2O3) Powder 985 in the infra-red making it useful in silicon photocells to directly convert radiant energy to electricity. Ytterbium metal increases its electrical resistance when subjected to very high stresses. This property is used in stress gauges for monitoring ground deformations from earthquakes and nuclear explosions. It is also used in thermal barrier system bond coatings on nickel, iron and other transitional metal alloy substrates. Ytterbium is available as metal and compounds with purities from 99% to 99.999% (ACS grade to ultra-high purity). Elemental or metallic forms of ytterbium include pellets, rod, wire, and granules for evaporation source material purposes. Ytterbium 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. Ytterbium is also available in soluble forms including chloride, nitrate and acetate. These compounds can be manufactured as solutions at specified stoichiometries.

Ytterbium Properties

Ytterbium (Yb) atomic and molecular weight, atomic number and elemental symbolYtterbium has 2 valency states, +2 and +3. Ytterbium Bohr ModelThe number of electrons in each of Ytterbium's shells is 2, 8, 18, 32, 8, 2 and its electron configuration is [Xe]4f14 6s2. In its elemental form, CAS 7440-64-4. ytterbium has a silvery-white color.The Ytterbium atom has a radius of 194 pm and its Van der Waals radius is unknown.Elemental Ytterbium On the periodic table, Ytterbium is a Block F, Group 3, Period 6 element. Ytterbium is found in monazite sand as well as the ores euxenite and xenotime. Ytterbium was first discovered by Jean de Marignac in 1878. The name Ytterbium originates after the name for the Swedish village of Ytterby.

Symbol: Yb
Atomic Number: 70
Atomic Weight: 173.04
Element Category: Lanthanide
Group, Period, Block: n/a, 6, f
Color: silvery-white
Other Names: Itterbio, Itérbio, Yterbio
Melting Point: 824°C, 1515.2°F, 1097.15 K
Boiling Point: 1196°C, 2184.8°F, 1469.15 K
Density: 6570 kg/m3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: 6.21 g·cm3
Density @ 20°C: 6.97 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 6570 kg·m3
Specific Heat: 0.0346 Cal/g/K @ 25 °C
Superconductivity Temperature: N/A
Triple Point: N/A
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 9.2
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 159
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 152.8
Thermal Conductivity: 0.349 W/cm/K @ 298.2 K
Thermal Expansion: (r.t.) (poly) 26.3 µm/(m·K)
Electrical Resistivity: 29.0 nΩ-cm @ 25 °C
Tensile Strength: 66 MPa
Molar Heat Capacity: 26.74 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: ( form) 23.9 GPa
Shear Modulus: (form) 9.9 GPa
Bulk Modulus: ( form) 30.5 GPa
Poisson Ratio: (form) 0.207
Mohs Hardness: N/A
Vickers Hardness: 206 MPa
Brinell Hardness: 343 MPa
Speed of Sound: (20 °C) 1590 m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: N/A
Sanderson Electronegativity: N/A
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 1.06
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: N/A
Allen Electronegativity: N/A
Pauling Electropositivity: N/A
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: N/A
Electrons: 70
Protons: 70
Neutrons: 103
Electron Configuration: [Xe]4f14 6s2
Atomic Radius: 176 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 187±8 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.78
Van der Waals Radius: 242 pm
Oxidation States: 3, 2, 1 (basic oxide)
Phase: Solid
Crystal Structure: face-centered cubic
Magnetic Ordering: paramagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) -3.929
1st Ionization Energy: 603.44 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 1174.82 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 2416.97 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-64-4
EC Number: 231-173-2
MDL Number: MFCD00011286
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Yb]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Yb
PubChem CID: 23992
ChemSpider ID: 22428
Earth - Total: 229 ppb
Mercury - Total: 176 ppb
Venus - Total: 240 ppb
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 0.0008
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 0.000029
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 2800
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 340
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: 1
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: 0.01
Stream, ppb by weight: 0.05
Stream, ppb by atoms: 0.0003
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: 180
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: 20
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: 0.01
Discovered By: Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
Discovery Date: 1878
First Isolation: Georges Urbain (1907)

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Ytterbium

Ytterbium is considered to be fairly toxic. Safety data for Ytterbium 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 below information applies to elemental (metallic) Ytterbium.

Safety Data
Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS
Signal Word Danger
Hazard Statements H228-H302-H312-H315-H319-H332-H335
Hazard Codes F,Xn
Risk Codes 11-20/21/22
Safety Precautions 16-33-36
RTECS Number ZG1925000
Transport Information UN 3089 4.1/PG 2
WGK Germany 3
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)
Exclamation Mark-Acute Toxicity Flame-Flammables

Ytterbium Isotopes

Naturally occurring ytterbium has 7 stable isotopes: 168Yb, 170Yb, 171Yb, 172Yb, 173Yb, 174Yb, and 176Yb.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
148Yb 147.96742(64)# 250# ms β+ to 148Tm 0+ N/A 1154.37 -
149Yb 148.96404(54)# 0.7(2) s β+ to 149Tm (1/2+,3/2+) N/A 1162.45 -
150Yb 149.95842(43)# 700# ms [>200 ns] β+ to 150Tm 0+ N/A 1179.84 -
151Yb 150.95540(32) 1.6(5) s β+ to 151Tm (1/2+) N/A 1187.92 -
152Yb 151.95029(22) 3.04(6) s β+ to 152Tm 0+ N/A 1196 -
153Yb 152.94948(21)# 4.2(2) s α to 149Er; β+ to 153Tm; β++ p to 152Er 7/2-# N/A 1213.4 -
154Yb 153.946394(19) 0.409(2) s α to 150Er; β+ to 154Tm 0+ N/A 1221.47 -
155Yb 154.945782(18) 1.793(19) s α to 151Er; β+ to 155Tm (7/2-) N/A 1229.55 -
156Yb 155.942818(12) 26.1(7) s β+ to 156Tm; α to 152Er 0+ N/A 1237.63 -
157Yb 156.942628(11) 38.6(10) s β+ to 157Tm; α to 153Er 7/2- N/A 1245.71 -
158Yb 157.939866(9) 1.49(13) min β+ to 158Tm; α to 154Er 0+ N/A 1263.11 -
159Yb 158.94005(2) 1.67(9) min β+ to 159Tm 5/2(-) N/A 1261.87 -
160Yb 159.937552(18) 4.8(2) min β+ to 160Tm 0+ N/A 1279.26 -
161Yb 160.937902(17) 4.2(2) min β+ to 161Tm 3/2- N/A 1287.34 -
162Yb 161.935768(17) 18.87(19) min β+ to 162Tm 0+ N/A 1295.42 -
163Yb 162.936334(17) 11.05(25) min β+ to 163Tm 3/2- N/A 1303.5 -
164Yb 163.934489(17) 75.8(17) min EC to 164Tm 0+ N/A 1311.58 -
165Yb 164.93528(3) 9.9(3) min β+ to 165Tm 5/2- N/A 1319.66 -
166Yb 165.933882(9) 56.7(1) h EC to 166Tm 0+ N/A 1327.74 -
167Yb 166.934950(5) 17.5(2) min EC to 167Tm 5/2- 0.62 1335.81 -
168Yb 167.933897(5) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1343.89 0.13
169Yb 168.935190(5) 32.026(5) d EC to 169Tm 7/2+ -0.63 1351.97 -
170Yb 169.9347618(26) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1360.05 3.04
171Yb 170.9363258(26) Observationally Stable - 1/2- 0.4919 1368.13 14.28
172Yb 171.9363815(26) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1376.21 21.83
173Yb 172.9382108(26) Observationally Stable - 5/2- -0.6776 1384.29 16.13
174Yb 173.9388621(26) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1392.36 31.83
175Yb 174.9412765(26) 4.185(1) d β- to 175Lu 7/2- 0.6 1391.13 -
176Yb 175.9425717(28) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1399.21 12.76
177Yb 176.9452608(28) 1.911(3) h β- to 177Lu (9/2+) N/A 1407.28 -
178Yb 177.946647(11) 74(3) min β- to 178Lu 0+ N/A 1415.36 -
179Yb 178.95017(32)# 8.0(4) min β- to 179Lu (1/2-) N/A 1414.13 -
180Yb 179.95233(43)# 2.4(5) min β- to 180Lu 0+ N/A 1422.2 -
181Yb 180.95615(43)# 1# min β- to 181Lu 3/2-# N/A 1430.28 -
Ytterbium Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Ytterbium

  • Yan Peiguang, Lin Rongyong, Zhang Han, Wang Zhiteng, Chen Han, Ruan Shuangchen, Multi-pulses dynamic patterns in a topological insulator mode-locked ytterbium-doped fiber laser, Optics Communications, Volume 335, 15 January 2015
  • Maitreyee Saha, Atasi Pal, Mrinmay Pal, Ranjan Sen, Influence of aluminum on doping of ytterbium in optical fiber synthesized by vapor phase technique, Optics Communications, Volume 334, 1 January 2015
  • Li Fu, Haiping Xia, Yanming Dong, Shanshan Li, Xuemei Gu, Jianli Zhang, Dongjie Wang, Haochuan Jiang, Baojiu Chen, Upconversion luminescence from terbium and ytterbium codoped LiYF4 single crystals, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Volume 617, 25 December 2014
  • Anthony B. Parmentier, Jonas J. Joos, Philippe F. Smet, Dirk Poelman, Corrigendum to “Luminescence of ytterbium in CaS and SrS” [J. Lumin. 154 (2014)
  • Anthony B. Parmentier, Jonas J. Joos, Philippe F. Smet, Dirk Poelman, Luminescence of ytterbium in CaS and SrS, Journal of Luminescence, Volume 154, October 2014
  • F. Tárkányi, F. Ditrói, S. Takács, A. Hermanne, A.V. Ignatyuk, New data on activation cross section for deuteron induced reactions on ytterbium up to 50 MeV, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, Volume 336, 1 October 2014
  • Mayeen Uddin Khandaker, Hiromitsu Haba, Naohiko Otuka, Ahmed Rufa’i Usman, Investigation of (d,x) nuclear reactions on natural ytterbium up to 24 MeV, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, Volume 335, 15 September 2014
  • Guoyao Li, Lu Wang, Zhigang Yao, Fan Xu, Chiral ytterbium silylamide catalyzed enantioselective phospha-Michael addition of diethyl phosphite to chalcones, Tetrahedron: Asymmetry, Volume 25, Issues 13–14, 31 July 2014
  • Kutloano E. Sekhosana, Tebello Nyokong, Synthesis of ytterbium bisphthalocyanines: Photophysicochemical properties and nonlinear absorption behavior, Optical Materials, Available online 14 June 2014
  • Shuai CHEN, Zhengtang LIU, Liping FENG, Xingsen CHE, Xiaoru ZHAO, Effect of ytterbium inclusion in hafnium oxide on the structural and electrical properties of the high-k gate dielectric, Journal of Rare Earths, Volume 32, Issue 6, June 2014