Name Erbium
Symbol Er
Atomic Number 68
Atomic Mass 167.259 atomic mass units
Number of Protons 68
Number of Neutrons 99
Number of Electrons 68
Melting Point 1522.0 C
Boiling Point 2510.0 C
Density 8.795 grams per cubic centimeter
Normal Phase Solid
Family Rare Earth Metals
Period 6
Cost $650 per kilogram



Origin of Name After Ytterby, a town in Sweden
Date and Place of Discovery In 1843 in Sweden
Discovered by Carl Gustaf Mosander
Common Compounds
Interesting facts
  • It is malleable.
  • It is stable in air and doesn't oxidize as quickly as the other rare earth metals.
  • It is alloyed with vanadium to make it softer and easier to shape.
  • It is not a required element in the human body but recent studies have indicated it might help with metabolism.
Common Uses
  • Lasers and optical amplifiers
  • Optical communications and optical fibers
  • Nuclear technology as a neutron absorber
  • Colorant for glass and porcelain
  • Sunglasses and cheap jewelry
  • Adds the pink color to cubic zirconia
  • Photographic filter


Photo Courtesy of
Chemical Elements
Environmental Chemistry
Facts About
Jefferson Lab

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