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Definition: europium from The Penguin Dictionary of Science

Symbol Eu. The element with atomic number 63 and relative atomic mass 152.0, which is a typical ➤lanthanide. As expected, its most common ➤oxidation number is +3 as in the oxide Eu2O3, a pink solid. The aqueous ion is also pink-coloured and europium compounds are used as the red phosphors in colour TV sets. It is unusual in having another common oxidation number of +2, because of the stability of the half-filled f subshell in Eu2+.


Summary Article: europium from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(yʊrō'pēəm) [from Europe], metallic chemical element; symbol Eu; at. no. 63; at. wt. 151.964; m.p. about 820degrees Celsius; b.p. about 1,600degrees Celsius; sp. gr. 5.25 at 25degrees Celsius; valence +2 or +3. Europium is a ductile silvery-white metal; it is both rare and expensive. It is a member of Group 3 of the periodic table. Its oxides are found in minerals with the other rare earths. Europium has been identified in the sun and some stars by spectroscopy. Its physical properties are like those of the other members of the lanthanide series, but many of its chemical properties are more like those of calcium. The most reactive of the rare-earth metals, it tarnishes quickly in air at room temperature and ignites and burns above 150degrees Celsius. It reacts readily with water. Twenty-one isotopes of europium are known, most of them unstable. Since it is a good neutron absorber, europium metal is used in nuclear reactor control rods. Europium oxide, a pinkish powder, is used to activate red phosphors in the manufacture of color television picture tubes. The discovery of europium is credited to Eugène Demarcay, who isolated fairly pure europium oxide in 1901.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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