[Xe] 4f66s2
2, 8, 18, 24, 8, 2
1072°C, 1962°F, 1345 K
1794°C, 3261°F, 2067 K
Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Samarium-Cobalt (SmCo) magnets are a type of rare earth magnet that has been employed in the construction of guitar pickups.


A silvery-white metal.


Samarium: Powering Innovation Across Industries

Introduction: Samarium, an unassuming rare earth element with the atomic number 62, has quietly become a powerhouse in various industries, contributing to technological innovation and advancements. Its unique properties make it a valuable player in applications ranging from electronics to healthcare and beyond. Let's explore the diverse uses of Samarium and its role in shaping the modern world.


Magnetic Marvel

Samarium in Magnets One of the standout applications of Samarium lies in the realm of magnet technology. Samarium-Cobalt (SmCo) magnets, a type of rare earth magnet, have gained prominence for their exceptional magnetic properties. These magnets, composed of Samarium, Cobalt, and traces of other elements, are known for their high magnetic strength, resistance to demagnetization, and stability at elevated temperatures.

Samarium-Cobalt magnets find applications in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and electronics. Their stability and durability make them suitable for use in high-performance motors, sensors, and magnetic assemblies. In the world of electric guitars, Samarium-Cobalt magnets are often chosen for their ability to provide strong and stable magnetic fields in guitar pickups, influencing the instrument's tonal characteristics.


Green Energy Revolution

Samarium in Clean Technologies As the world shifts towards clean and sustainable energy sources, Samarium plays a crucial role in powering the green energy revolution. Samarium-Cobalt magnets are utilized in the generators of wind turbines. These magnets, with their robust magnetic fields, contribute to the efficient conversion of wind energy into electricity. The use of Samarium in wind turbines exemplifies its significance in advancing renewable energy technologies and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Beyond wind energy, Samarium is also employed in the development of high-performance permanent magnets used in electric vehicles. As the automotive industry embraces electric mobility, Samarium's contribution to the production of powerful and efficient magnets becomes increasingly vital in driving the transition to cleaner transportation.


Precision Optics

Samarium in Glass and Lenses Samarium finds applications in the field of optics, contributing to the development of precision glass and lenses. Samarium Oxide (Sm2O3) is used as a dopant in glass and optical materials. The addition of Samarium enhances the optical properties of the glass, making it suitable for use in lasers, camera lenses, and infrared optics.

In lasers, Samarium-doped materials are utilized to achieve specific wavelengths of light emission, contributing to the precision and efficiency of laser technologies. The incorporation of Samarium in optical materials showcases its versatility in influencing the properties of light and facilitating advancements in various optical applications.


Nuclear Medicine

Samarium in Cancer Treatment Samarium-153, a radioactive isotope of Samarium, is utilized in the field of nuclear medicine for cancer treatment. Samarium-153 is incorporated into radiopharmaceuticals that are administered to patients with certain types of cancer, particularly those affecting the bones. The radioactive emissions from Samarium-153 target cancerous cells in the bones, providing localized radiation therapy.

This application of Samarium in cancer treatment highlights its role in advancing medical technologies and offering targeted therapeutic solutions. The controlled use of radioactive Samarium underscores its potential to contribute to the fight against cancer while minimizing the impact on healthy tissues.


High-Temperature Applications

Samarium in Alloys Samarium is often alloyed with other metals to enhance their properties, particularly in high-temperature environments. Samarium-Cobalt alloys, for example, exhibit excellent thermal stability and corrosion resistance, making them suitable for use in aerospace applications, gas turbines, and other high-temperature environments.

The addition of Samarium to alloys contributes to the improvement of mechanical and thermal properties, expanding the range of applications in industries where materials are exposed to extreme conditions.



Samarium, though less known than some of its rare earth counterparts, plays a pivotal role in powering innovation across a spectrum of industries. From its magnetic prowess driving advancements in technology to its applications in clean energy, optics, nuclear medicine, and high-temperature alloys, Samarium showcases its versatility and contribution to modern living.

As industries continue to seek sustainable and efficient solutions, Samarium's unique properties position it as a valuable element in the ongoing quest for technological progress. Its role in shaping the landscape of clean energy, healthcare, and advanced materials reflects the enduring impact of this unassuming rare earth element on the world we live in.


In the vast expanse of the periodic table, Samarium (S) stands as a testament to the relentless pursuit of scientific discovery. With its atomic number 62, this rare earth element has traversed a fascinating historical journey, from its initial discovery to becoming a cornerstone in various technological applications. Let's delve into the intriguing history of Samarium and trace its evolution through the annals of science.


Discovery and Early Isolation

The story of Samarium unfolded in the late 19th century, a time marked by intense exploration into the world of rare earth elements. In 1879, Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac discovered an oxide in the mineral samarskite, which he named "samarium" in honor of the mineral's origin. However, de Marignac was unable to isolate the new element from the oxide at that time.

It wasn't until 1901 that German chemist Eugène-Antole Demarçay successfully isolated Samarium through a series of complex chemical processes. Demarçay's work solidified Samarium as a distinct element, separate from the other rare earth elements.


Samarium's Luminescent Discovery

In the early 20th century, Samarium began to reveal its unique luminescent properties. Researchers observed that certain compounds of Samarium emitted characteristic lines of light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. This discovery hinted at the potential applications of Samarium in luminescent materials, setting the stage for future innovations.


World War II and Samarium

The significance of Samarium escalated during World War II, as scientists explored its properties for strategic purposes. Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) magnets, an alloy of Samarium and Cobalt, emerged as a valuable technological advancement. These magnets demonstrated remarkable stability at high temperatures and resistance to demagnetization, making them suitable for military applications, including radar systems and other electronic devices.

The development of Samarium Cobalt magnets marked a crucial chapter in Samarium's history, showcasing its contribution to wartime technologies and laying the groundwork for future magnetic applications.


Samarium in the Nuclear Age

The post-World War II era ushered in a new age of scientific exploration, and Samarium found itself at the forefront of nuclear research. In the 1950s, scientists began utilizing Samarium-149, an isotope of Samarium, as a neutron absorber in nuclear reactors. Samarium's ability to capture neutrons made it instrumental in controlling nuclear reactions, contributing to the development of safer and more efficient nuclear power technologies.


Medical Marvel

Samarium in Cancer Treatment As the 20th century progressed, Samarium's role expanded into the realm of healthcare. Samarium-153, another isotope of Samarium, became a key player in nuclear medicine for cancer treatment. Samarium-153 is incorporated into radiopharmaceuticals and administered to patients with metastatic bone cancer.

The radioactive emissions from Samarium-153 selectively target cancerous cells in the bones, providing a localized radiation therapy option. This application of Samarium in cancer treatment highlights its potential to improve therapeutic solutions and enhance the quality of life for patients battling cancer.


Samarium in Clean Energy

In the 21st century, Samarium has found renewed significance in the global push towards clean and sustainable energy. Samarium Cobalt magnets continue to play a pivotal role in the development of efficient and compact electric motors for electric vehicles (EVs). The stability and high magnetic strength of Samarium Cobalt magnets contribute to the performance and longevity of these motors, aligning with the growing demand for eco-friendly transportation solutions.



The historical journey of Samarium is a tapestry woven with scientific curiosity, wartime ingenuity, and contributions to advancements in healthcare and clean energy. From its discovery in the late 19th century to its pivotal role in the nuclear age and beyond, Samarium has proven to be a versatile and indispensable element.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, Samarium continues to be a driving force in technological progress, shaping industries and contributing to solutions for pressing global challenges. Its legacy as a rare earth element with multifaceted applications stands as a testament to the enduring impact of scientific exploration and innovation.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.36
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): Unknown
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.85
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 1.17
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
544.534 1068.09 2257.8 3994.5 - - - -

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
144Sm 143.912 3.07 - -
147Sm 146.915 14.99 1.06 x 1011 y a
148Sm 147.915 11.24 7 x 1015 y a
149Sm 148.917 13.82 1016 y a
150Sm 149.917 7.38 - -
152Sm 151.920 26.75 - -
154Sm 153.922 22.75 - -

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 9.5
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 0.3
Recycle Rate (%): <10
Production Conc.(%) : 97
Top 3 Producers:
1) China
2) Russia
3) Malaysia
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
1) China
2) CIS Countries (inc. Russia)
3) USA
Substitutability: High
Political Stability of Top Producer: 24.1
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: 24.1

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 196
Shear Modulus: 19.5
Young Modulus: 49.7
Bulk Modulus: 37.8
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- 8.17 x 10-8 0.00221 0.942 51 - - - - - 37.8



Welcome Dear listeners, to another exciting exploration of the periodic table's hidden treasures. Today, we're setting our sights on Samarium – an element that has played a pivotal role in both science and industry. From its intriguing history to its remarkable properties, its natural occurrence, production methods, and the wide array of applications it finds itself in, Samarium is a true elemental marvel. So, join me as we embark on this journey through the world of Samarium.

Samarium, denoted by the symbol S m, and boasting an atomic number of 62, has a history that dates back to the 19th century. Its discovery can be attributed to Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander, who was already renowned for his work with the rare earth elements.

In 1853, Mosander isolated Samarium from the mineral known as cerite, which was discovered in the Bastnäs mines in Sweden. The name "Samarium" was bestowed upon this newly discovered element in honor of a nearby town, "Småland," where the cerite was originally found.

This discovery was not just an isolated incident but marked the beginning of the systematic identification and separation of rare earth elements, paving the way for a deeper understanding of this unique group of elements.

Samarium possesses a fascinating array of properties that make it an element of intrigue. Its appearance is metallic silver, and it has a relatively high melting point of 1072 degrees Celsius (1962 degrees Fahrenheit) and a boiling point of 1900 degrees Celsius (3452 degrees Fahrenheit).

One of its most notable features is its magnetic behavior. Samarium is ferromagnetic below room temperature, making it a crucial component in the creation of powerful permanent magnets. These magnets, known as Samarium-Cobalt magnets, are integral in various technological applications.

Moreover, Samarium exhibits excellent thermal neutron absorption capabilities, making it invaluable in nuclear reactor control rods, where it helps regulate nuclear fission reactions.

Samarium is not as abundant as some other elements on Earth. It is primarily found in various minerals, including bastnäsite, monazite, and samarskite. These minerals are typically discovered in countries like China, Brazil, and the United States, making these regions significant contributors to Samarium's global supply.


The extraction process involves several steps, including mining the ores, chemical separation, and ultimately refining the element to a high level of purity. This process can be both labor-intensive and environmentally challenging due to the radioactive nature of some of the ores.

Producing Samarium in its pure form is a complex process that involves several stages. The ores containing Samarium are first crushed and ground into fine particles. Next, a chemical extraction process is employed, using various acids to dissolve the desired elements.

The resulting solution is then subjected to a series of precipitation and purification steps, which gradually isolate Samarium from other elements. This rigorous process is essential to obtain high-purity Samarium suitable for various applications, especially in the realm of advanced technologies.

Now, let's explore the myriad of applications that have harnessed the unique properties of Samarium.

Samarium-Cobalt magnets, known for their incredible strength and resistance to high temperatures, are widely used in aerospace, automotive industries, and even in some medical devices like MRI machines.

Samarium's ability to absorb thermal neutrons makes it an essential component in control rods for nuclear reactors, allowing for the regulation of nuclear fission reactions.

Samarium compounds are employed as catalysts in various chemical reactions, enabling the synthesis of complex organic compounds in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Samarium-doped lasers find applications in cutting-edge research and medical treatments, thanks to their ability to emit intense and precise light beams.

The radioactive isotope Samarium-147 is used in the process of radiometric dating, aiding in the determination of the age of rocks and minerals.

Samarium is used in the production of colored glass and ceramics, adding vibrant hues to a variety of products.

Samarium compounds are used to create luminous paint, which can glow in the dark and is used for safety signs, watch dials, and instrument panels.

Samarium, with its rich history, remarkable properties, and diverse applications, stands as a testament to the profound impact that individual elements can have on our technological and scientific endeavors. From its role in crafting powerful magnets to its critical contributions in nuclear technology and beyond, Samarium continues to shape the world we live in today.

As we conclude our journey through the world of Samarium, I hope you've gained a newfound appreciation for this often-overlooked element. Stay tuned for more explorations into the captivating realm of the periodic table in future episodes of "Talking About Elements."

Thank you for joining me, and until next time, keep exploring the elements that make up our world.


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