[Xe] 4f96s2
2, 8, 18, 27, 8, 2
1359°C, 2478°F, 1632 K
3230°C, 5846°F, 3503 K
Carl Gustav Mosander
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Terbium, this rare earth element, with its luminescent prowess, elevates the quality of LED lighting, making it not just a source of illumination but a canvas of vibrant colors and energy efficiency.


A soft, silvery metal.


Terbium: Illuminating Innovation Across Industries

In the vast landscape of rare earth elements, Terbium stands out as a versatile and luminescent powerhouse. With its atomic number 65 and symbol Tb, Terbium has found its way into various applications, playing a crucial role in shaping modern technologies and advancements. In this article, we will explore the myriad uses of Terbium across different industries, showcasing its diverse and indispensable contributions.


1. Brilliant Displays and Lighting

Terbium's luminescent properties make it a star player in the world of displays and lighting. The element is a key component in phosphors, which are materials that emit light when exposed to certain stimuli. In the realm of lighting, Terbium-based phosphors are used in fluorescent lamps and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These phosphors, when stimulated by an energy source, emit vibrant colors, making Terbium crucial for creating efficient and visually appealing lighting solutions.

Terbium's contribution to the world of displays extends beyond basic illumination. It is integral to the production of phosphors in cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs), enhancing the color quality and brightness of screens in televisions, monitors, and other electronic devices. Terbium's versatility in this regard has cemented its role in the evolution of visual technologies.


2. Precision Color Tuning

One of the remarkable features of Terbium is its ability to fine-tune colors, contributing to the creation of displays with precise color accuracy. By adjusting the concentration of Terbium in phosphors, manufacturers can achieve specific color outputs, catering to the diverse needs of different industries. This precision color tuning is especially crucial in applications where color fidelity is paramount, such as in medical imaging, graphic design, and professional photography.


3. Medical Imaging and Diagnosis

Terbium's luminescent properties find a vital application in the field of medical imaging. Terbium-based phosphors are employed in contrast agents used in certain imaging techniques, such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These contrast agents enhance the visibility of specific tissues and structures, aiding healthcare professionals in diagnosing conditions with greater accuracy.

In addition to traditional medical imaging, Terbium is making strides in the emerging field of theranostics. The unique properties of Terbium phosphors allow for both diagnostic imaging and therapeutic applications, paving the way for personalized and targeted medical treatments.


4. Catalysts in Green Chemistry

Terbium's versatility extends beyond the realm of optics and imaging into the domain of chemistry. Terbium compounds have demonstrated catalytic properties that make them valuable in various chemical reactions. In green chemistry practices, Terbium-based catalysts contribute to the synthesis of organic compounds with improved efficiency and environmental sustainability. This application showcases Terbium's potential in advancing eco-friendly approaches to chemical processes.


5. Nuclear Reactor Control Rods

Terbium plays a crucial role in the realm of nuclear energy. It is utilized in the production of control rods for nuclear reactors. These control rods help regulate the fission process by absorbing neutrons, ensuring the stability and safety of nuclear reactions. The use of Terbium in this context highlights its significance in providing a controlled and reliable source of nuclear energy.


6. Innovation in Electronics

Terbium has found its way into various electronic devices, contributing to the advancement of electronic technologies. Its magnetic properties make it a valuable component in the production of specialized magnetic alloys. Terbium magnets are used in sensors, actuators, and various electronic components. This application underscores Terbium's role in driving innovation in the electronics industry.


7. Emerging Applications in Clean Energy

As the world increasingly turns toward sustainable energy solutions, Terbium is finding new applications in clean energy technologies. Terbium-based materials are explored for use in advanced solar cells and as catalysts for hydrogen production. These applications position Terbium as a potential player in the quest for cleaner and more efficient energy sources.



Terbium's journey from the periodic table to the forefront of technological innovation is a testament to its unique properties and versatility. From illuminating displays and lighting our surroundings to enhancing medical diagnostics and contributing to green chemistry practices, Terbium has proven itself to be an indispensable element across diverse industries. As research and technology continue to evolve, Terbium's luminescent brilliance promises to illuminate the path toward further advancements and sustainable solutions across the scientific and industrial landscape.


In the grand tapestry of the periodic table, Terbium (Tb) emerges as a rare and remarkable element, its history interwoven with the pursuit of knowledge, scientific breakthroughs, and the evolution of technology. Journey back in time with us as we explore the captivating history of Terbium, from its discovery to its crucial role in modern applications.


1. The Early Chapters

The story of Terbium begins in the 19th century, an era marked by the exploration of rare earth elements. Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander, a pioneering figure in the study of these elements, was conducting experiments with cerite, a mineral extracted from the Bastnäs mine in Sweden. In 1843, Mosander successfully isolated a new oxide from cerite, naming it "erbia."

Little did Mosander know that within erbia, a hidden gem awaited further exploration.


2. Emergence of Terbium

In 1847, Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac revisited Mosander's work on erbia. Marignac meticulously conducted experiments and successfully isolated a previously unrecognized rare earth element. This new element, named Terbium in homage to the village of Ytterby near the Bastnäs mine, marked a distinct addition to the periodic table.

The recognition of Terbium as a unique element represented a significant milestone in the ongoing quest to understand the fundamental building blocks of matter.


3. Luminescent Wonders

As scientists delved deeper into Terbium's properties, they unveiled its extraordinary luminescent capabilities. Terbium emits a vibrant spectrum of colors when exposed to external stimuli, earning it a place of prominence among the rare earth elements. This luminescence would later prove to be a key factor in Terbium's applications across various industries.


4. Expanding the Periodic Table

Terbium's discovery contributed to the expanding understanding of rare earth elements. Ytterby, the village from which Terbium derived its name, became a symbolic hub of discovery, as several other rare earth elements were also isolated from minerals found in the same region. Ytterby's contribution to the periodic table includes elements such as Yttrium, Erbium, and Terbium, immortalizing the village's significance in the history of chemistry.


5. Industrial Applications

As the 20th century unfolded, Terbium transitioned from the laboratory to industrial applications. Its luminescent properties became a focal point of interest, particularly in the field of optics and electronics. Terbium's ability to emit green and red light made it a valuable component in the production of phosphors used in various display technologies.


6. Terbium in Color Television

Terbium's luminescent prowess found practical application in the development of color television. The introduction of color television sets in the mid-20th century relied on phosphors containing Terbium, contributing to the vibrant and dynamic display of colors on screens. Terbium's role in color television marked a tangible and widespread use of the element in consumer electronics.


7. Magnetic Marvel

Beyond its luminescent properties, Terbium demonstrated magnetic characteristics, particularly in its alloys. Terbium-based magnets became crucial components in electronic devices, sensors, and certain specialized applications. The magnetic properties of Terbium further expanded its relevance in the evolving landscape of technology.


8. Contemporary Contributions

In the 21st century, Terbium continues to play a vital role in cutting-edge technologies. Its applications range from the development of energy-efficient lighting, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), to its role in advanced medical imaging and diagnostics.



Terbium's journey from the discovery of erbia in the 19th century to its current prominence in diverse technological applications is a testament to the enduring curiosity and ingenuity of scientists. This rare earth element, with its luminescent and magnetic properties, has not only illuminated the periodic table but has also illuminated our world through advancements in electronics, lighting, and medical technology. As the pages of Terbium's history continue to be written, its role in shaping the future of science and industry remains luminous and indispensable.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.33
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): Unknown
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.81
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): Unknown
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
565.771 1111.51 2113.99 3839.15 - - - -

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
159b 158.925 100 - -

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: 182
Shear Modulus: 22.1
Young Modulus: 55.7
Bulk Modulus: 38.7
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - - 1.92 x 10-9 4.18 x 10-6 0.000988 0.0585 1.15 12.5 88 38.7



Hello and welcome to "Talking About Elements," the podcast where we delve into the remarkable world of chemical elements. Today, we have a fascinating element to explore - Terbium. From its historical roots to its wide array of properties, occurrence, production, and applications, we've got an exciting episode ahead.

Let's start with a glimpse into the history of Terbium.

Terbium, represented by the atomic symbol Tb on the periodic table, was first discovered in 1843 by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander. He isolated Terbium from a mineral known as cerite and initially referred to it as "erbia," which later turned out to be a mixture of Terbium and other rare earth elements.

Now, let's dive into the unique properties of Terbium.

Terbium is a member of the lanthanide series and is known for its distinctive bright green fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet light. This property makes it a valuable component in phosphors used in color television tubes and LED displays.

Moving on to its occurrence:

Terbium is not found in nature in significant quantities by itself. Instead, it's typically found in various minerals, often in association with other rare earth elements. These minerals include xenotime, euxenite, and monazite, which are mined in different parts of the world.

So, how is Terbium produced?

The production of Terbium involves a multi-step process. First, the ore containing Terbium is extracted from the ground. Next, it undergoes a series of chemical and physical treatments to separate Terbium from other elements and impurities. This refined Terbium can then be further processed into various forms based on its intended applications.

Now, let's explore the myriad of applications for Terbium.

One of its most well-known uses is in color television screens. Terbium compounds are employed to create the red and green phosphors that generate the vibrant colors you see on your TV.

In the world of clean energy, Terbium is a crucial component in the development of high-efficiency green phosphors for energy-saving fluorescent lamps. It also plays a role in the development of advanced wind turbines.

Terbium's magnetic properties make it valuable in the production of special magnets, particularly in the manufacturing of powerful neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets. These magnets are used in various applications, from electric vehicle motors to headphones and speakers.

In conclusion, Terbium is a truly captivating element with a rich history and a wide range of applications. From enhancing the colors on your television to powering clean energy technologies and improving everyday electronic devices, Terbium has found its place in our modern world.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of "Talking About Elements." If you found this exploration of Terbium informative, please subscribe and leave a review. And if you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, don't hesitate to reach out.

Until next time, keep discovering the remarkable elements that shape our universe. Remember, the periodic table is a treasure trove of stories waiting to be uncovered.


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