Indium


Indium
cadmiumindiumtin
Ga

In

Tl
Element 1: Hydrogen (H), Other non-metal
Element 2: Helium (He), Noble gas
Element 3: Lithium (Li), Alkali metal
Element 4: Beryllium (Be), Alkaline earth metal
Element 5: Boron (B), Metalloid
Element 6: Carbon (C), Other non-metal
Element 7: Nitrogen (N), Other non-metal
Element 8: Oxygen (O), Other non-metal
Element 9: Fluorine (F), Halogen
Element 10: Neon (Ne), Noble gas
Element 11: Sodium (Na), Alkali metal
Element 12: Magnesium (Mg), Alkaline earth metal
Element 13: Aluminium (Al), Other metal
Element 14: Silicon (Si), Metalloid
Element 15: Phosphorus (P), Other non-metal
Element 16: Sulfur (S), Other non-metal
Element 17: Chlorine (Cl), Halogen
Element 18: Argon (Ar), Noble gas
Element 19: Potassium (K), Alkali metal
Element 20: Calcium (Ca), Alkaline earth metal
Element 21: Scandium (Sc), Transition metal
Element 22: Titanium (Ti), Transition metal
Element 23: Vanadium (V), Transition metal
Element 24: Chromium (Cr), Transition metal
Element 25: Manganese (Mn), Transition metal
Element 26: Iron (Fe), Transition metal
Element 27: Cobalt (Co), Transition metal
Element 28: Nickel (Ni), Transition metal
Element 29: Copper (Cu), Transition metal
Element 30: Zinc (Zn), Transition metal
Element 31: Gallium (Ga), Other metal
Element 32: Germanium (Ge), Metalloid
Element 33: Arsenic (As), Metalloid
Element 34: Selenium (Se), Other non-metal
Element 35: Bromine (Br), Halogen
Element 36: Krypton (Kr), Noble gas
Element 37: Rubidium (Rb), Alkali metal
Element 38: Strontium (Sr), Alkaline earth metal
Element 39: Yttrium (Y), Transition metal
Element 40: Zirconium (Zr), Transition metal
Element 41: Niobium (Nb), Transition metal
Element 42: Molybdenum (Mo), Transition metal
Element 43: Technetium (Tc), Transition metal
Element 44: Ruthenium (Ru), Transition metal
Element 45: Rhodium (Rh), Transition metal
Element 46: Palladium (Pd), Transition metal
Element 47: Silver (Ag), Transition metal
Element 48: Cadmium (Cd), Transition metal
Element 49: Indium (In), Other metal
Element 50: Tin (Sn), Other metal
Element 51: Antimony (Sb), Metalloid
Element 52: Tellurium (Te), Metalloid
Element 53: Iodine (I), Halogen
Element 54: Xenon (Xe), Noble gas
Element 55: Caesium (Cs), Alkali metal
Element 56: Barium (Ba), Alkaline earth metal
Element 57: Lanthanum (La), Lanthanoid
Element 58: Cerium (Ce), Lanthanoid
Element 59: Praseodymium (Pr), Lanthanoid
Element 60: Neodymium (Nd), Lanthanoid
Element 61: Promethium (Pm), Lanthanoid
Element 62: Samarium (Sm), Lanthanoid
Element 63: Europium (Eu), Lanthanoid
Element 64: Gadolinium (Gd), Lanthanoid
Element 65: Terbium (Tb), Lanthanoid
Element 66: Dysprosium (Dy), Lanthanoid
Element 67: Holmium (Ho), Lanthanoid
Element 68: Erbium (Er), Lanthanoid
Element 69: Thulium (Tm), Lanthanoid
Element 70: Ytterbium (Yb), Lanthanoid
Element 71: Lutetium (Lu), Lanthanoid
Element 72: Hafnium (Hf), Transition metal
Element 73: Tantalum (Ta), Transition metal
Element 74: Tungsten (W), Transition metal
Element 75: Rhenium (Re), Transition metal
Element 76: Osmium (Os), Transition metal
Element 77: Iridium (Ir), Transition metal
Element 78: Platinum (Pt), Transition metal
Element 79: Gold (Au), Transition metal
Element 80: Mercury (Hg), Transition metal
Element 81: Thallium (Tl), Other metal
Element 82: Lead (Pb), Other metal
Element 83: Bismuth (Bi), Other metal
Element 84: Polonium (Po), Metalloid
Element 85: Astatine (At), Halogen
Element 86: Radon (Rn), Noble gas
Element 87: Francium (Fr), Alkali metal
Element 88: Radium (Ra), Alkaline earth metal
Element 89: Actinium (Ac), Actinoid
Element 90: Thorium (Th), Actinoid
Element 91: Protactinium (Pa), Actinoid
Element 92: Uranium (U), Actinoid
Element 93: Neptunium (Np), Actinoid
Element 94: Plutonium (Pu), Actinoid
Element 95: Americium (Am), Actinoid
Element 96: Curium (Cm), Actinoid
Element 97: Berkelium (Bk), Actinoid
Element 98: Californium (Cf), Actinoid
Element 99: Einsteinium (Es), Actinoid
Element 100: Fermium (Fm), Actinoid
Element 101: Mendelevium (Md), Actinoid
Element 102: Nobelium (No), Actinoid
Element 103: Lawrencium (Lr), Actinoid
Element 104: Rutherfordium (Rf), Transition metal
Element 105: Dubnium (Db), Transition metal
Element 106: Seaborgium (Sg), Transition metal
Element 107: Bohrium (Bh), Transition metal
Element 108: Hassium (Hs), Transition metal
Element 109: Meitnerium (Mt)
Element 110: Darmstadtium (Ds)
Element 111: Roentgenium (Rg)
Element 112: Copernicium (Cn), Transition metal
Element 113: Ununtrium (Uut)
Element 114: Ununquadium (Uuq)
Element 115: Ununpentium (Uup)
Element 116: Ununhexium (Uuh)
Element 117: Ununseptium (Uus)
Element 118: Ununoctium (Uuo)
Indium has a tetragonal crystal structure
49In
Appearance
silvery lustrous gray
General properties
Name, symbol, number indium, In, 49
Pronunciation /ˈɪndiəm/ in-dee-əm
Element category post-transition metal
Group, period, block 13, 5, p
Standard atomic weight 114.818
Electron configuration [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p1
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 18, 3 (Image)
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density (near r.t.) 7.31 g·cm−3
Liquid density at m.p. 7.02 g·cm−3
Melting point 429.7485 K, 156.5985 °C, 313.8773 °F
Boiling point 2345 K, 2072 °C, 3762 °F
Heat of fusion 3.281 kJ·mol−1
Heat of vaporization 231.8 kJ·mol−1
Molar heat capacity 26.74 J·mol−1·K−1
Vapor pressure
P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 1196 1325 1485 1690 1962 2340
Atomic properties
Oxidation states 3, 2, 1 (amphoteric oxide)
Electronegativity 1.78 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: 558.3 kJ·mol−1
2nd: 1820.7 kJ·mol−1
3rd: 2704 kJ·mol−1
Atomic radius 167 pm
Covalent radius 142±5 pm
Van der Waals radius 193 pm
Miscellanea
Crystal structure tetragonal
Magnetic ordering diamagnetic[1]
Electrical resistivity (20 °C) 83.7 nΩ·m
Thermal conductivity 81.8 W·m−1·K−1
Thermal expansion (25 °C) 32.1 µm·m−1·K−1
Speed of sound (thin rod) (20 °C) 1215 m·s−1
Young's modulus 11 GPa
Mohs hardness 1.2
Brinell hardness 8.83 MPa
CAS registry number 7440-74-6
Most stable isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of indium
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
113In 4.3% 113In is stable with 64 neutrons
115In 95.7% 4.41×1014 y β 0.495 115Sn
v ·  /ˈɪndiəm/ in-dee-əm) is a chemical element with the symbol In and atomic number 49. This rare, very soft, malleable and easily fusible post-transition metal is chemically similar to gallium and thallium, and shows the intermediate properties between these two. Indium was discovered in 1863 and named for the indigo blue line in its spectrum that was the first indication of its existence in zinc ores, as a new and unknown element. The metal was first isolated in the following year. Zinc ores continue to be the primary source of indium, where it is found in compound form. Very rarely the element can be found as grains of native (free) metal, but these are not of commercial importance.

Indium's current primary application is to form transparent electrodes from indium tin oxide in liquid crystal displays and touchscreens, and this use largely determines its global mining production. It is widely used in thin-films to form lubricated layers (during World War II it was widely used to coat bearings in high-performance aircraft). It is also used for making particularly low melting point alloys, and is a component in some lead-free solders.

Indium is not known to be used by any organism. In a similar way to aluminium salts, indium(III) ions can be toxic to the kidney when given by injection, but oral indium compounds do not have the chronic toxicity of salts of heavy metals, probably due to poor absorption in basic conditions. Radioactive indium-111 (in very small amounts on a chemical basis) is used in nuclear medicine tests, as a radiotracer to follow the movement of labeled proteins and white blood cells in the body.

Contents

Characteristics

Physical

Indium wetting the glass surface of a test tube

Indium is a very soft, silvery-white, relatively rare true metal with a bright luster. When it is bent, indium emits a high-pitched "cry".[2] Like gallium, indium is able to wet glass. Indium has a low melting point, compared to those of most other metals, 156.60 °C (313.88 °F); it is higher than that of its lighter homologue, gallium, but lower than that of the heavier homologue, thallium.[3] Its boiling point is, however, moderate, being 2072 °C (3762 °F), which is higher than that of thallium, but lower than that of gallium, showing opposition to melting points trend. The density of indium, 7.31 g·cm−3, is also higher than that of gallium, but lower than that of thallium.[3]

Indium atom has 49 electrons, having electronic configuration [Kr]4d105s25p1. In its compounds, indium most often loses its three outermost electrons, becoming indium(III) ions, In3+, but in some cases the pair of 5s-electrons can stay within the atom, indium thus oxidized only to indium(I), In+. This happens due to inert pair effect, which occurs because of stabilization of 5s-orbital due to relativistic effects, which are stronger closer to the bottom of the periodic table. Its heavier homologue, thallium, shows an even stronger effect, making oxidation to thallium(I) more likely than to thallium(III), making +1 the more likely oxidation state.[4]

A number of standard electrode potentials, depending on the reaction under study,[5] is reported for indium:

−0.40 In2+ + e ↔ In+
−0.49 In3+ + e ↔ In2+
−0.443 In3+ + 2 e ↔ In+
−0.3382 In3+ + 3 e ↔ In
−0.14 In+ + e ↔ In

Chemical

Indium is a post-transition metal and chemically, is the intermediate element between its group 13 neighbors gallium and thallium. It shows two main oxidation states, which are +1 and +3, with latter being more stable, where as the only common oxidation state of gallium is +3 and thallium shows +1 more likely than +3, with thallium(III) being a moderately strong oxidizing agent, while indium(III) is stable and indium(I) is a powerful reducing agent.[6]

Indium does not react with water, but it is oxidized by stronger oxidizing agents, such as halogens or oxalic acid, to give indium(III) compounds. It does not react with boron, silicon or carbon, and the corresponding boride, silicide or carbide are not known. Similarly, reaction between indium and hydrogen has not been observed, but both indium(I) and indium(III) hydrides are known.[7]

Indium(III) oxide is formed at hot temperatures during reaction between indium and oxygen, with blue flame. It is amphoteric, i. e. it can react with both acids and bases. Its reaction with water results in insoluble indium(III) hydroxide, which is also amphoteric, reacting with alkalies to give indates(III) and with acids to give indium(III) salts:

In(OH)3 + 2 NaOH → 2 Na[InO2] + H2O
In(OH)3 + 3 HCl → InCl3 + 3 H2O

The hydrolysis of sodium indate(III) gives weak indic acid, HInO2. Out of common indium(III) salts, chloride, sulfate and nitrate are soluble. In water solutions, In3+ and [InO2]- ions are hydrolyzed to give InOH2+ and HInO2 due to generally amphoteric character of indium(III) ions. Indium(III) compounds are not well-soluble, similarly to thallium(III) compounds; however, indium(III) salts of strong acids, such as chloride, sulfate and nitrate are soluble, hydrolyzing in water solutions. The In3+ ion is colorless in solution because of the absence of unpaired electrons in the d- and f-electron shells.[6]

Indium(I) compounds are not as common as indium(III) ones; only chloride, bromide, iodide, sulfide and cyclopentadienyl are well-characterized. Indium(I) sulfide is the product of reaction between indium and sulfur or indium and hydrogen sulfide, and can be received at 700—1000 °C. Indium(I) oxide black powder is received at 850 °C during reaction between indium and carbon dioxide or during decomposition of indium(III) oxide at 1200 °C. Cyclopentadienylindium(I), which was the first organoindium(I) compound reported,[8] is polymer consisting of zigzag chains of alternating indium atoms and cyclopentadienyl complexes.

Less frequently, indium shows intermediate oxidation state +2, which lies between the common ones, most notably in halides, In2X4 and [In2X6]2-.[9] Several other compounds are known to combine indium(I) and indium(III), such as InI6(InIIICl6)Cl3,[10] InI5(InIIIBr4)2(InIIIBr6),[11] InIInIIIBr4.[9]

Isotopes

Indium occurs naturally on Earth only in two primordial nuclides, indium-113 and indium-115. Out of this two, indium-115 makes up 95.7% of all indium but it is radioactive, decaying to tin-115 via beta decay with half-life of 4.41×1014 years, four orders of magnitude larger than the age of the universe and nearly 50,000 times longer than that of natural thorium.[12] This effect is uncommon among stable chemical elements; only indium, tellurium, and rhenium have been shown that their most abundant isotopes are radioactive. However, the less common natural isotope of indium, indium-113, is stable.

Indium has 39 known isotopes, ranging in mass between 97 and 135. Only one of them is stable and one has half-life exceeding 1014 years; the most stable other indium isotope is indium-111, which has half-life of approximately 2.8 days. All other isotopes have half-lives shorter than 5 hours. Indium also has 47 meta states, out of which indium-114m1 is the most stable, being more stable than ground state of any indium isotope, except for the primordial ones.

Creation and occurrence

yellow squares with red and blue arrows
The s-process acting in the range from silver to antimony.

Indium is created via the long-lasting, (up to thousands of years), s-process in low-medium mass stars (which range in mass between 0.6 and 10 masses of Sun). When a silver-109 atom, which comprises approximately half of all silver in existence, catches a neutron, it undergoes a beta decay to become cadmium-110. Capturing further neutrons, it becomes cadmium-115, which decays to indium-115 via another beta decay. This explains why the radioactive isotope predominates in abundance compared to the stable one.[13]

Indium is 61st most abundant element in the Earth's crust at approximately 49 ppb, making indium approximately as abundant as mercury.[14] Fewer than 10 indium minerals are known, such as dzhalindite (In(OH)3) and indite (FeIn2S4),[15] but none of these occurs in significant deposits.

Based on content of indium in zinc ore stocks, there is a worldwide reserve base of approximately 6,000 tonnes of economically viable indium.[16] This figure has led to estimates suggesting that, at current consumption rates, there is only 13 years' supply of indium left.[17] However, the Indium Corporation, the largest processor of indium, claims that, on the basis of increasing recovery yields during extraction, recovery from a wider range of base metals (including tin, copper and other polymetallic deposits) and new mining investments, the long-term supply of indium is sustainable, reliable and sufficient to meet increasing future demands.[18]

This conclusion may be reasonable considering that silver, which is one-third as abundant as indium in the Earth's crust,[19] is currently mined at approximately 18,300 tonnes per year,[20] which is 40 times greater than current indium mining rates.

History

In 1863, the German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymous Theodor Richter were testing ores from the mines around Freiberg, Saxony. They dissolved the minerals pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena and sphalerite in hydrochloric acid and distilled the raw zinc chloride. As it was known that ores from that region sometimes contain thallium they searched for the green emission lines with spectroscopic methods. The green lines were absent but a blue line was present in the spectrum. As no element was known with a bright blue emission they concluded that a new element was present in the minerals. They named the element with the blue spectral line indium, from the indigo color seen in its spectrum.[21][22] Richter went on to isolate the metal in 1864.[23] At the World Fair 1867 an ingot of 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) was presented.[24]

In 1924, indium was found to have a valuable ability to stabilize non-ferrous metals, which was its first significant use for the element.[25] It took until 1936 that the U.S. Bureau of Mines list indium as a commodity, and even in early 1950s only very limited applications for indium were known, the most of which was making light-emitting diodes and engines for aircrafts during the World War II. The start of production of indium containing semiconductors started in 1952. The development and widespread use of indium containing nuclear control rods increased the demand during the 1970s, the use of indium tin oxide in liquid crystal displays increased and became the major application by 1992.[26][27][28][29][30]

Production

The lack of indium mineral deposits and the fact that indium is enriched in sulfidic lead, tin, copper, iron and predominately in zinc deposits, makes zinc production the main source for indium. The indium is leached from slag and dust of zinc production. Further purification is done by electrolysis.[24]

Indium is produced mainly from residues generated during zinc ore processing but is also found in iron, lead, and copper ores.[2] China is a leading producer of indium. The Teck Cominco refinery in Trail, British Columbia, is a large single source indium producer, with production of 32,500 kg in 2005, 41,800 kg in 2004 and 36,100 kg in 2003. South American Silver Corporation's Malku Khota property in Bolivia is a large resource of indium with an indicated resource of 1,481 tonnes and inferred resource of 935 tonnes.[31] Adex Mining Inc.’s Mount Pleasant Mine in New Brunswick, Canada, holds some of the world’s total known indium resources.[32]

The amount of indium consumed is largely a function of worldwide LCD production. Worldwide production is currently 476 tonnes per year from mining and a further 650 tonnes per year from recycling.[18] Demand has risen rapidly in recent years with the popularity of LCD computer monitors and television sets, which now account for 50% of indium consumption.[33] Increased manufacturing efficiency and recycling (especially in Japan) maintain a balance between demand and supply. According to the UNEP, indium's end-of-life recycling rate is less than 1%.[34] Demand increased as the metal is used in LCDs and televisions, and supply decreased when a number of Chinese mining concerns stopped extracting indium from their zinc tailings. In 2002, the price was US$94 per kilogram. The recent changes in demand and supply have resulted in high and fluctuating prices of indium, which from 2006 to 2009 ranged from US$382/kg to US$918/kg.

Applications

A magnified image of an LCD screen showing RGB pixels. Individual transistors are seen as white dots in the bottom part.

The first large-scale application for indium was as a coating for bearings in high-performance aircraft engines during World War II. Afterward, production gradually increased as new uses were found in fusible alloys, solders, and electronics. In the 1950s, tiny beads of it were used for the emitters and collectors of PNP alloy junction transistors. In the middle and late 1980s, the development of indium phosphide semiconductors and indium tin oxide thin films for liquid crystal displays (LCD) aroused much interest. By 1992, the thin-film application had become the largest end use.[35][36]

Electronics

Metal and alloys

Ductile indium wire
  • Very small amounts used in aluminium alloy sacrificial anodes (for salt water applications) to prevent passivation of the aluminium.
  • To bond gold electrical test leads to superconductors, indium is used as a conducting adhesive and applied under a microscope with precision tweezers.[44]
  • In the form of a wire it is used as a vacuum seal and a thermal conductor in cryogenics and ultra-high vacuum applications. For example, in manufacturing gaskets which deform to fill gaps.[45]
  • Used as a calibration material for Differential scanning calorimetry.[46]
  • It is an ingredient in the gallium-indium-tin alloy Galinstan, which is liquid at room temperature while not being toxic like mercury.[47]

Other uses

  • Indium tin oxide is used as a light filter in low pressure sodium vapor lamps. The infrared radiation is reflected back into the lamp, which increases the temperature within the tube and therefore improves the performance of the lamp.[36]
  • Indium's melting point of 429.7485 K (156.5985 °C) is a defining fixed point on the international temperature scale ITS-90.[48]
  • Indium's high neutron capture cross section for thermal neutrons makes it suitable for use in control rods for nuclear reactors, typically in an alloy containing 80% silver, 15% indium, and 5% cadmium.[49]
  • In nuclear engineering, the (n,n') reactions of 113In and 115In are used to determine magnitudes of neutron fluxes.[50]
  • Indium is also used as a thermal interface material by personal computer enthusiasts in the form of pre-shaped foil sheets fitted between the heat-transfer surface of a microprocessor and its heat sink. The application of heat partially melts the foil and allows the indium metal to fill in any microscopic gaps and pits between the two surfaces, removing any insulating air pockets that would otherwise compromise heat transfer efficiency.[51]
  • 111In emits gamma radiation and is used in indium leukocyte imaging, or indium scintigraphy, a technique of medical imaging that is particularly helpful in differentiating conditions such as osteomyelitis from decubitus ulcers for assessment of route and duration of antibiotic therapy.[52] Indium leukocyte scintigraphy has many applications, including early phase drug development, and the monitoring of activity of white blood cells. For the test, blood is taken from the patient, white cells removed, labeled with the radioactive 111In, then re-injected back into the patient. Gamma imaging will then reveal any areas of on-going white cell localization such as new and developing areas of infection.

Precautions and health issues

Pure indium in metal form is considered non-toxic by most sources. In the welding and semiconductor industries, where indium exposure is relatively high, there have been no reports of any toxic side-effects. Indium compounds, like aluminum compounds, complex with hydroxyls to form insoluble salts in basic conditions, and are thus not well-absorbed from food, giving them fairly low oral toxicty. Soluble indium(III) is toxic when delivered parenterally, however, causing damage primarily to the kidney (both inner and outer parts), but additionally to heart and liver, and may be teratogenic.[53] Other indium compounds are toxic when administered outside the gastrointestinal tract: for example, anhydrous indium trichloride (InCl3) and indium phosphide (InP) are quite toxic when delivered into the lungs (the latter is a suspected carcinogen).[54][55]

See also

References

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Indium — Cadmium ← Indium → Étain Ga …   Wikipédia en Français

  • INDIUM — De indicum , indigo Symbole chimique: In Numéro atomique: 49 g Masse atomique: 114,82 Point de fusion: 156,6 0C Point d’ébullition: 2 080 0C Densité (à 20 0C): 7,31. Élément chimique du groupe des métaux rares, blanc argenté brillant, mou,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • indium — ÍNDIUM s.n. v. indiu. Trimis de valeriu, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  ÍNDIUM s.n. v. indiu. Trimis de LauraGellner, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • Indium — In di*um, n. [NL. See {Indigo}.] (Chem.) A rare metallic element, of atomic number 49, discovered in certain ores of zinc, by means of its characteristic spectrum of two indigo blue lines; hence, its name. In appearance it resembles zinc, being… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Indĭum — In, Metall, findet sich in geringer Menge in manchen Zinkblenden (Freiberg, Breitenbrunn, Schönfeld) und in dem aus diesen gewonnenen Zink (Freiberger Zink bis 0,1 Proz.), im zinkischen Ofenbruch der Juliushütte bei Goslar, in Hüttenprodukten aus …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Indium — In (Atomgewicht 113,5, spez. Gew. 7,4), ein silberweißes, an der Luft unveränderliches weiches Metall, das bei 176° schmilzt und in Weißglut flüchtig ist und bei hoher Temperatur mit blauer Flamme zu Oxyd In2O2 verbrennt; gehört zu den seltenen… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Indium — (chem. Zeichen In), sehr seltenes, weißes, weiches Metall, findet sich nur in zinkischen Erzen und deren Produkten; spez. Gewicht 7,4, Atomgewicht 113,1, Schmelzpunkt 176°, oxydiert sich an der Luft nicht …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • indium — Symbol: In Atomic number: 49 Atomic weight: 114.82 Soft silvery element belonging to group 13 of the periodic table. The most common natural isotope is In 115, which has a half life of 6*10^4 years. Five other radioisotopes exist. Discovered in… …   Elements of periodic system

  • índium — s. m. O mesmo que índio (metal) …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • indium — ► NOUN ▪ a soft, silvery white metallic chemical element resembling zinc, used in some alloys and semiconductor devices. ORIGIN from INDIGO(Cf. ↑indigo) (because there are two characteristic indigo lines in its spectrum) …   English terms dictionary

  • indium — [in′dē əm] n. [ModL: so named (1863) by F. Reich (1799 1882) & H. T. Richter (1824 98), Ger metallurgists < L indicum, INDIGO + IUM, because of the two indigo lines in its spectrum] a rare metallic chemical element, soft, ductile, and silver… …   English World dictionary


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