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A rare earth metal of the yttrium group. Erbium is a soft malleable, metallic solid that forms pink salts as a chloride, oxide, oxalate, nitrate and sulfate. Erbium occurs in small amounts in the following minerals: xenotime, fergusonite, gadolinite, euxenite, polycrase, blomstrandine. It is present in the earth's crust at concentrations of 2.8 ppm. Erbium is primarily used as a phosphor to convert infrared radiation to visible light. It is also used in lasers and as a pink colorant for glass and porcelain.

Synonyms and Related Terms



  • Powdered erbium is flammable.
  • Contact may cause irritation.
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Composition Er (atomic no, 68)
CAS 7440-52-0
Melting Point 1529 C
Density 9.066 g/ml
Molecular Weight atomic wt 167.26
Boiling Point 2868 C

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 3679