31 May 2019

Germanium - important in the first transistors

From Elemental, 8:00 am on 31 May 2019

Germanium is a metalloid that was a key element in early transistors. The inventor of the first germanium-based transistors won a Nobel Prize.

It is now used in optical fibres and infrared night vision scopes.

Germanium (a metalloid with the atomic number 32) is named after Germany and was one of the elements whose existence on the periodic table was predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev.

As a semiconductor it has an initial low conductivity, which can be boosted by increasing the temperature or ‘doping’ it with other elements.

Professor Allan Blackman from AUT says that GeH4 is known as ‘germane’.

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Photo: RNZ

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The Elemental podcast is celebrating 150 years since the periodic table was first published by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.

Find out more about events during the United Nation’s International Year of the Periodic Table.

Nights with Bryan Crump is also celebrating the chemical elements during their Friday night Sonic Tonic and Element of the Week.

Professor Allan Blackman is at Auckland University of Technology.