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About Erbium

Erbium Bohr

In 1787, army-lieutenant and chemist Carl Axel Arrhenius found a rock in a quarry near the Swedish village of Ytterby which he suspected contained the newly discovered element tungsten. Analysis by other chemists did not bear out his suspicions, but ultimately four new elements were identified from the mineral Arrhenius had named "ytterbite" in honor of Ytterby. Carl Gustaf Mosander isolated three new oxides in 1843, one of which he named erbia, hence the element's name of erbium.

Erbium 3+ ions have optical properties that account for most uses of the element. Erbium-doped glasses and crystals are used as laser gain media, optical fibers, and amplifiers used in fiber optical communications systems. Erbium lasers also are frequently used in medical, dermatological, and dental, and settings, and stronger erbium-ytterbium lasers are used in metal cutting and welding. The same distinct absorption and emission spectra that make erbium useful for functional optical applications yield the distinct pink coloring of erbium 3+ compounds, and so erbium may also be used aesthetically as a colorant for glasses, ceramics, and cubic zirconia.

Aside from its optical properties, erbium is useful for its ability to readily absorb free neutrons, which lends it to use in control rods in nuclear reactors. Additionally, erbium alloys are used for their high specific heat capacity in cryocoolers for use near liquid helium temperatures.

Erbium is a rare earth element and can 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, erbium 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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Elemental Erbium Picture

Erbium has application in glass coloring, as an amplifier in fiber optics, and in lasers for medical and dental use. The ion has a very narrow absorption band that results in the distinct pink coloring of erbium salts, while in its metallic form it is silvery white. It is therefore used in eyeware and decorative glassware. It can neutralize discoloring impurities such as ferric ions and produce a neutral gray shade. It is used in a variety of glass products for this purpose. It is particularly useful as an amplifier for fiber optic data transfer. Erbium lases at the wavelength required to provide an efficient optical method of amplification, 1.55 micronsHigh Purity (99.999%) Erbium (Er) Sputtering Target. Lasers based on Er:YAG are ideally suited for surgical applications because of their ability to deliver energy without thermal build-up in tissue. Erbium isHigh Purity (99.999%) Erbium Oxide (Er2O3) Powder 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. Erbium oxides are available in powder and dense pellet form for such uses as optical coating and thin film applications. Oxides tend to be insoluble. Erbium fluoride is another insoluble form for uses in which oxygen is undesirable such as metallurgy, chemical and physical vapor deposition and in some optical coatings. Erbium is also available in soluble forms including chlorides, nitrates and acetates. These compounds can be manufactured as solutions at specified stoichiometries.

Erbium Properties

Erbium (Er) atomic and molecular weight, atomic number and elemental symbol Erbium is a Block F, Group 3, Period 6 element. The number of electrons in each of Erbium's shells is 2, 8, 18, 30, 8, 2 and its electronic configuration is Erbium Bohr Model[Xe]4f12 6s2. In its elemental form, CAS 7440-52-0, erbium has a silvery white appearance. The erbium atom has a radius of and its Van der Waals radius is unknown. Erbium is named after the Swedish town, Ytterby and was first discovered by Carl Mosander in 1843. Erbium is found in monazite sand ores.

Symbol: Er
Atomic Number: 68
Atomic Weight: 382.56
Element Category: Lanthanide
Group, Period, Block: n/a, 6, f
Color: silvery-white
Other Names: Erbio
Melting Point: 1529 °C, 2784.2 °F, 1802.15 K
Boiling Point: 2868 °C, 5194.4 °F, 3141.15 K
Density: 9066 kg·m3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: 8.86 g·cm3
Density @ 20°C: 9.05 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 9066 kg·m3
Specific Heat: 0.0401 Cal/g/K @ 25°C
Superconductivity Temperature: N/A
Triple Point: N/A
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 17.2
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 280
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 318.32
Thermal Conductivity: 0.145 W/cm/K @ 298.2 K
Thermal Expansion: (r.t.) (poly) 12.2 µm/(m·K)
Electrical Resistivity: 107.0 µΩ-cm@ 25°C
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 28.12 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: 69.9 GPa
Shear Modulus: 28.3 GPa
Bulk Modulus: 44.4 GPa
Poisson Ratio: 0.237
Mohs Hardness: N/A
Vickers Hardness: 589 MPa
Brinell Hardness: 814 MPa
Speed of Sound: (20 °C) 2830 m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: 1.24
Sanderson Electronegativity: N/A
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 1.11
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: N/A
Allen Electronegativity: N/A
Pauling Electropositivity: 2.76
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: N/A
Electrons: 68
Protons: 68
Neutrons: 99
Electron Configuration: [Xe]4f12 6s2
Atomic Radius: 176 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 189±6 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.77
Van der Waals Radius: 235 pm
Oxidation States: 3, 2, 1 (basic oxide)
Phase: Solid
Crystal Structure: hexagonal close-packed
Magnetic Ordering: paramagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) Unknown
1st Ionization Energy: 589.31 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 1151.08 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 2194.09 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-52-0
EC Number: 231-160-1
MDL Number: MFCD00010987
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Er]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Er
PubChem CID: 23980
ChemSpider ID: 22416
Earth - Total: 231 ppb
Mercury - Total: 177 ppb
Venus - Total: 242 ppb
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 0.0009
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 0.000033
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 3000
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 370
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: Carl Gustaf Mosander
Discovery Date: 1842
First Isolation: N/A

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Erbium

Erbium is moderately toxic. Safety data for Erbium 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) Erbium.

Safety Data
Signal Word Warning
Hazard Statements H228
Hazard Codes F
Risk Codes 11
Safety Precautions 43
RTECS Number N/A
Transport Information UN 3089 4.1/PG 2
WGK Germany 3
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)
Review and Print SDS for Erbium Metal


Date Created: 05/15/2015
Date Revised: 05/15/2015


Product Name: Erbium Metal

Product Number: All applicable American Elements product codes, e.g. ER-M-02, ER-M-03, ER-M-04, ER-M-05

CAS #: 7440-52-0

Relevant identified uses of the substance: Scientific research and development

Supplier details:
American Elements
1093 Broxton Ave. Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: +1 310-208-0551
Fax: +1 310-208-0351

Emergency telephone number:
Domestic, North America +1 800-424-9300
International +1 703-527-3887


Classification of the substance or mixture in accordance with 29 CFR 1910 (OSHA HCS)
The substance is not classified according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).
Hazards not otherwise classified
No information known.
Label elements
GHS label elements
Not applicable
Hazard pictograms
Not applicable
Signal word
Not applicable
Hazard statements
Not applicable
WHMIS classification
Not controlled
Classification system
HMIS ratings (scale 0-4)
(Hazardous Materials Identification System)

Health (acute effects) = 0
Flammability = 1
Physical Hazard = 1
Other hazards
Results of PBT and vPvB assessment
Not applicable.
Not applicable.


Chemical characterization: Substances
CAS# Description:
7440-52-0 Erbium
Identification number(s):
EC number:


Description of first aid measures
After inhalation
Supply fresh air. If required, provide artificial respiration. Keep patient warm.
Seek immediate medical advice.
After skin contact
Immediately wash with water and soap and rinse thoroughly.
Seek immediate medical advice.
After eye contact
Rinse opened eye for several minutes under running water. Then consult a doctor.
After swallowing
Seek medical treatment.
Information for doctor
Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed
No further relevant information available.
Indication of any immediate medical attention and special treatment needed
No further relevant information available.


Extinguishing media
Suitable extinguishing agents
Special powder for metal fires. Do not use water.
For safety reasons unsuitable extinguishing agents
Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture
If this product is involved in a fire, the following can be released:
Metal oxide fume
Advice for firefighters
Protective equipment:
Wear self-contained respirator.
Wear fully protective impervious suit.


Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures
Wear protective equipment. Keep unprotected persons away.
Ensure adequate ventilation
Keep away from ignition sources
Environmental precautions:
Do not allow material to be released to the environment without proper governmental permits.
Methods and material for containment and cleaning up:
Keep away from ignition sources.
Ensure adequate ventilation.
Do not flush with water or aqueous cleansing agents
Prevention of secondary hazards:
Keep away from ignition sources.
Reference to other sections
See Section 7 for information on safe handling
See Section 8 for information on personal protection equipment.
See Section 13 for disposal information.


Precautions for safe handling
Handle under dry protective gas.
Keep container tightly sealed.
Store in cool, dry place in tightly closed containers.
Ensure good ventilation at the workplace.
Information about protection against explosions and fires:
Protect against electrostatic charges.
Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities
Requirements to be met by storerooms and receptacles:
Store in a cool location.
Information about storage in one common storage facility:
Store away from air.
Store away from water/moisture.
Do not store together with acids.
Store away from oxidizing agents.
Store away from halogens.
Store away from acid chlorides.
Further information about storage conditions:
Store under dry inert gas.
This product is moisture sensitive.
This product is air sensitive.
Keep container tightly sealed.
Store in cool, dry conditions in well sealed containers.
Protect from humidity and water.
Specific end use(s)
No further relevant information available.


Additional information about design of technical systems:
Properly operating chemical fume hood designed for hazardous chemicals and having an average face velocity of at least 100 feet per minute.
Control parameters
Components with limit values that require monitoring at the workplace:
The product does not contain any relevant quantities of materials with critical values that have to be monitored at the workplace.
Additional information:
No data
Exposure controls
Personal protective equipment
General protective and hygienic measures
The usual precautionary measures for handling chemicals should be followed.
Keep away from foodstuffs, beverages and feed.
Remove all soiled and contaminated clothing immediately.
Wash hands before breaks and at the end of work.
Maintain an ergonomically appropriate working environment.
Breathing equipment:
Use suitable respirator when high concentrations are present.
Protection of hands:
Impervious gloves
Check protective gloves prior to each use for their proper condition.
The selection of suitable gloves not only depends on the material, but also on quality. Quality will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Penetration time of glove material (in minutes)
Not determined
Eye protection:
Safety glasses
Full face protection
Body protection:
Protective work clothing


Information on basic physical and chemical properties
General Information
Form: Soild in various forms
Color: Silver grey
Odor: Not determined
Odor threshold: Not determined.
pH-value: Not applicable.
Change in condition
Melting point/Melting range: 1529 °C (2784 °F)
Boiling point/Boiling range: 2868 °C (5194 °F)
Sublimation temperature / start: Not determined
Flammability (solid, gaseous)
Highly flammable.
Contact with water liberates extremely flammable gases.
Ignition temperature: Not determined
Decomposition temperature: Not determined
Auto igniting: Not determined.
Danger of explosion: Not determined.
Explosion limits:
Lower: Not determined
Upper: Not determined
Vapor pressure at 20 °C (68 °F): 0 hPa
Density at 20 °C (68 °F): 9.066 g/cm³ (75.656 lbs/gal)
Relative density
Not determined.
Vapor density
Not applicable.
Evaporation rate
Not applicable.
Solubility in / Miscibility with Water: Contact with water releases flammable gases
Partition coefficient (n-octanol/water): Not determined.
dynamic: Not applicable.
kinematic: Not applicable.
Other information
No further relevant information available.


In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously.
Chemical stability
Stable under recommended storage conditions.
Thermal decomposition / conditions to be avoided:
Decomposition will not occur if used and stored according to specifications.
Possibility of hazardous reactions
Reacts with strong oxidizing agents
Contact with water releases flammable gases
Conditions to avoid
No further relevant information available.
Incompatible materials:
Oxidizing agents
Acid chlorides
Hazardous decomposition products:
Metal oxide fume


Information on toxicological effects
Acute toxicity:
No effects known.
LD/LC50 values that are relevant for classification:
No data
Skin irritation or corrosion:
May cause irritation
Eye irritation or corrosion:
May cause irritation
No sensitizing effects known.
Germ cell mutagenicity:
No effects known.
No classification data on carcinogenic properties of this material is available from the EPA, IARC, NTP, OSHA or ACGIH.
Reproductive toxicity:
No effects known.
Specific target organ system toxicity - repeated exposure:
No effects known.
Specific target organ system toxicity - single exposure:
No effects known.
Aspiration hazard:
No effects known.
Subacute to chronic toxicity:
No effects known.
Additional toxicological information:
To the best of our knowledge the acute and chronic toxicity of this substance is not fully known.


Aquatic toxicity:
No further relevant information available.
Persistence and degradability
No further relevant information available.
Bioaccumulative potential
No further relevant information available.
Mobility in soil
No further relevant information available.
Additional ecological information:
General notes:
Do not allow material to be released to the environment without proper governmental permits.
Do not allow undiluted product or large quantities to reach ground water, water course or sewage system.
Avoid transfer into the environment.
Results of PBT and vPvB assessment
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Other adverse effects
No further relevant information available.


Waste treatment methods
Consult state, local or national regulations to ensure proper disposal.
Uncleaned packagings:
Disposal must be made according to official regulations.


Not applicable
UN proper shipping name
Not applicable
Transport hazard class(es)
Not applicable
Packing group
Not applicable
Environmental hazards:
Not applicable.
Special precautions for user
Not applicable.
Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL73/78 and the IBC Code
Not applicable.
Transport/Additional information:
Marine Pollutant (DOT):


Safety, health and environmental regulations/legislation specific for the substance or mixture
GHS label elements
Not applicable
Hazard pictograms
Not applicable
Signal word
Not applicable
Hazard statements
Not applicable
National regulations
All components of this product are listed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical substance Inventory.
All components of this product are listed on the Canadian Non-Domestic Substances List (NDSL).
SARA Section 313 (specific toxic chemical listings)
Substance is not listed.
California Proposition 65
Prop 65 - Chemicals known to cause cancer
Substance is not listed.
Prop 65 - Developmental toxicity
Substance is not listed.
Prop 65 - Developmental toxicity, female
Substance is not listed.
Prop 65 - Developmental toxicity, male
Substance is not listed.
Information about limitation of use:
For use only by technically qualified individuals.
Other regulations, limitations and prohibitive regulations
Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) according to the REACH Regulations (EC) No. 1907/2006.
Substance is not listed.
The conditions of restrictions according to Article 67 and Annex XVII of the Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH) for the manufacturing, placing on the market and use must be observed.
Substance is not listed.
Annex XIV of the REACH Regulations (requiring Authorisation for use)
Substance is not listed.
Chemical safety assessment:
A Chemical Safety Assessment has not been carried out.


Safety Data Sheet according to Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH). The above information is believed to be correct but does not purport to be all inclusive and shall be used only as a guide. The information in this document is based on the present state of our knowledge and is applicable to the product with regard to appropriate safety precautions. It does not represent any guarantee of the properties of the product. American Elements shall not be held liable for any damage resulting from handling or from contact with the above product. See reverse side of invoice or packing slip for additional terms and conditions of sale. COPYRIGHT 1997-2016 AMERICAN ELEMENTS. LICENSED GRANTED TO MAKE UNLIMITED PAPER COPIES FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY.

Erbium Isotopes

Naturally occurring erbium (Er) has 6 stable isotopes: 162Er, 164Er, 166Er, 167Er, 168Er, and 170Er.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
142Er 141.97231(47)# N/A Unknown N/A N/A N/A -
143Er 142.96634(64)# 200# ms Unknown 9/2-# N/A 1116.22 -
144Er 143.96038(43)# 400# ms [>200 ns] ß+ to 144Ho 0+ N/A 1124.3 -
145Er 144.95739(43)# 900(300) ms ß+ to 145Ho 1/2+# N/A 1141.69 -
146Er 145.95200(32)# 1.7(6) s ß+ to 146Ho; ß+ + p to 145Dy 0+ N/A 1149.77 -
147Er 146.94949(32)# ~2.5 s ß+ to 147Ho; ß+ + p to 146Dy (1/2+) N/A 1167.17 -
148Er 147.94455(21)# 4.6(2) s ß+ to 148Ho; ß+ + p to 147Dy 0+ N/A 1175.25 -
149Er 148.94231(3) 4(2) s ß+ to 149Ho; ß+ + p to 148Dy (1/2+) N/A 1183.33 -
150Er 149.937914(18) 18.5(7) s ß+ to 150Ho 0+ N/A 1200.72 -
151Er 150.937449(18) 23.5(13) s ß+ to 151Ho (7/2-) N/A 1208.8 -
152Er 151.935050(11) 10.3(1) s a to 148Dy; ß+ to 152Ho 0+ N/A 1216.88 -
153Er 152.935063(9) 37.1(2) s a to 149Dy; ß+ to 153Ho 7/2(-) N/A 1224.96 -
154Er 153.932783(6) 3.73(9) min a to 150Dy; ß+ to 154Ho 0+ N/A 1233.03 -
155Er 154.933209(7) 5.3(3) min ß+ to 154Ho; a to 150Dy 7/2- N/A 1241.11 -
156Er 155.931065(26) 19.5(10) min ß+ to 156Ho 0+ N/A 1249.19 -
157Er 156.93192(3) 18.65(10) min ß+ to 157Ho 3/2- N/A 1257.27 -
158Er 157.929893(27) 2.29(6) h EC to 158Ho 0+ N/A 1274.67 -
159Er 158.930684(5) 36(1) min ß+ to 159Ho 3/2- N/A 1273.43 -
160Er 159.929083(26) 28.58(9) h EC to 160Ho 0+ N/A 1290.82 -
161Er 160.929995(10) 3.21(3) h EC to 161Ho 3/2- -0.37 1298.9 -
162Er 161.928778(4) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1306.98 0.14
163Er 162.930033(6) 75.0(4) min EC to 163Ho 5/2- 0.557 1305.74 -
164Er 163.929200(3) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1323.14 1.61
165Er 164.930726(3) 10.36(4) h EC to 165Ho 5/2- 0.643 1321.9 -
166Er 165.9302931(27) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1329.98 33.61
167Er 166.9320482(27) Observationally Stable - 7/2+ -0.5665 1338.06 22.93
168Er 167.9323702(27) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1346.14 26.78
169Er 168.9345904(27) 9.392(18) d ß- to 169Tm 1/2- 0.515 1354.22 -
170Er 169.9354643(30) Observationally Stable - 0+ N/A 1362.29 14.93
171Er 170.9380298(30) 7.516(2) h ß- to 171Tm 5/2- 0.66 1370.37 -
172Er 171.939356(5) 49.3(3) h ß- to 172Tm 0+ N/A 1378.45 -
173Er 172.94240(21)# 1.434(17) min ß- to 173Tm (7/2-) N/A 1377.21 -
174Er 173.94423(32)# 3.2(2) min ß- to 174Tm 0+ N/A 1385.29 -
175Er 174.94777(43)# 1.2(3) min ß- to 175Tm (9/2+) N/A 1393.37 -
176Er 175.95008(43)# 20# s ß- to 176Tm 0+ N/A 1392.13 -
177Er 176.95405(54)# 3# s ß- to 177Tm 1/2-# N/A 1400.21 -