|Name, symbol, number||europium, Eu, 63|
|Group, period, block||n/a, 6, f|
|Standard atomic weight||151.964 g·mol−1|
|Electron configuration||[Xe] 4f76s 2|
|Electrons per shell||2, 8, 18, 25, 8, 2 (Image)|
|Density (near r.t.)||5.264 g·cm−3|
|Liquid density at m.p.||5.13 g·cm−3|
|Melting point||1099 K, 826 °C, 1519 °F|
|Boiling point||1802 K, 1529 °C, 2784 °F|
|Heat of fusion||9.21 kJ·mol−1|
|Heat of vaporization||176 kJ·mol−1|
|Specific heat capacity||(25 °C) 27.66 J·mol−1·K−1|
|Oxidation states||3, 2 (mildly basic oxide)|
|Electronegativity||? 1.2 (Pauling scale)|
|Ionization energies||1st: 547.1 kJ·mol−1|
|2nd: 1085 kJ·mol−1|
|3rd: 2404 kJ·mol−1|
|Atomic radius||180 pm|
|Covalent radius||198±6 pm|
|Crystal structure||body-centered cubic|
|Electrical resistivity||(r.t.) (poly) 0.900 µΩ·m|
|Thermal conductivity||(300 K) est. 13.9 W·m−1·K−1|
|Thermal expansion||(r.t.) (poly)
|Young's modulus||18.2 GPa|
|Shear modulus||7.9 GPa|
|Bulk modulus||8.3 GPa|
|Vickers hardness||167 MPa|
|CAS registry number||7440-53-1|
|Most stable isotopes|
|Main article: Isotopes of europium|
Europium is a metal about as hard as lead and is quite ductile. It becomes a superconductor when it is simultaneously at both high pressure (80 GPa) and at low temperature (1.8 K). The occurrence of superconductivity is due to the applied pressure driving europium from a divalent (J = 7/2) state into a trivalent (J = 0) state. In the divalent state, the strong local magnetic moment is thought to play a role in suppressing the superconductivity and so through eliminating this local moment the opportunity for superconductivity arises.
Europium is the most reactive of the rare earth elements; it rapidly oxidizes in air (bulk oxidation of a centimeter-sized sample within several days) and resembles calcium in its reaction with water. Samples of the metal element in solid form, even when coated with a protective layer of mineral oil, are rarely shiny. Europium ignites in air at 150 °C to 180 °C to form europium(III) oxide:
Europium is quite electropositive and reacts slowly with cold water and quite quickly with hot water to form europium hydroxide:
Europium metal reacts with all the halogens:
Europium compounds include:
Europium(II) compounds tend to predominate, in contrast to most lanthanides which generally form compounds with an oxidation state of +3. Europium(II) chemistry is very similar to barium(II) chemistry, as they have similar ionic radii. Divalent europium is a mild reducing agent, such that under atmospheric conditions, it is the trivalent form that predominates. Under anaerobic, and particularly under geothermal conditions, the divalent form is sufficiently stable such that it tends to be incorporated into minerals of calcium and the other alkaline earths. This is the cause of the "negative europium anomaly", that depletes europium from being incorporated into the most usual light lanthanide minerals such as monazite, relative to the chondritic abundance. Bastnäsite tends to show less of a negative europium anomaly than monazite does, and hence is the major source of europium today. The accessible divalency of europium has always made it one of the easiest lanthanides to extract and purify, even when present in low concentration, as it usually is.
Naturally occurring europium is composed of 2 isotopes, 151Eu and 153Eu, with 153Eu being the most abundant (52.2% natural abundance). While 153Eu is stable, 151Eu was recently found to be unstable to alpha decay with half-life of yr (in reasonable agreement with theoretical predictions), giving about 1 alpha decay per two minutes in every kilogram of natural europium. Besides natural radioisotope 151Eu, 35 artificial radioisotopes have been characterized, with the most stable being 150Eu with a half-life of 36.9 years, 152Eu with a half-life of 13.516 years, and 154Eu with a half-life of 8.593 years. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives that are less than 4.7612 years, and the majority of these have half-lives that are less than 12.2 seconds. This element also has 8 meta states, with the most stable being 150mEu (T½=12.8 hours), 152m1Eu (T½=9.3116 hours) and 152m2Eu (T½=96 minutes).
The primary decay mode before the most abundant stable isotope, 153Eu, is electron capture, and the primary mode after is beta minus decay. The primary decay products before 153Eu are isotopes of samarium (Sm) and the primary products after are isotopes of gadolinium (Gd).
Like other lanthanides, many isotopes, especially isotopes with odd mass numbers and neutron-poor isotopes like 152Eu, have high cross sections for neutron capture, often high enough to be neutron poisons.
152Eu (half-life 13.516 years) and 154Eu (halflife 8.593 years) cannot be beta decay products because 152Sm and 154Sm are nonradioactive, but 154Eu is the only long-lived "shielded" nuclide, other than 134Cs, to have a fission yield of more than 2.5 parts per million fissions. A larger amount of 154Eu will be produced by neutron activation of a significant portion of the nonradioactive153Eu; however, much of this will be further converted to 155Eu.
Europium was first found by Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1890, who obtained basic fraction from samarium-gadolinium concentrates which had spectral lines not accounted for by samarium or gadolinium; however, the discovery of europium is generally credited to French chemist Eugène-Anatole Demarçay, who suspected samples of the recently discovered element samarium were contaminated with an unknown element in 1896 and who was able to isolate europium in 1901. When the europium-doped yttrium orthovanadate red phosphor was discovered in the early 1960s, and understood to be about to cause a revolution in the color television industry, there was a mad scramble for the limited supply of europium on hand among the monazite processors. (Typical europium content in monazite was about 0.05%.) Luckily, Molycorp, with its bastnäsite deposit at Mountain Pass, California, whose lanthanides had an unusually "rich" europium content of 0.1%, was about to come on-line and provide sufficient europium to sustain the industry. Prior to europium, the color-TV red phosphor was very weak, and the other phosphor colors had to be muted, to maintain color balance. With the brilliant red europium phosphor, it was no longer necessary to mute the other colors, and a much brighter color TV picture was the result. Europium has continued in use in the TV industry ever since, and, of course, also in computer monitors. Californian bastnäsite now faces stiff competition from Bayan Obo, China, with an even "richer" europium content of 0.2%. Frank Spedding, celebrated for his development of the ion-exchange technology that revolutionized the rare earth industry in the mid-1950s once related the story of how, in the 1930s, he was lecturing on the rare earths when an elderly gentleman approached him with an offer of a gift of several pounds of europium oxide. This was an unheard-of quantity at the time, and Spedding did not take the man seriously. However, a package duly arrived in the mail, containing several pounds of genuine europium oxide. The elderly gentleman had turned out to be Dr. McCoy who had developed a famous method of europium purification involving redox chemistry.
Europium is never found in nature as a free element; however, there are many minerals containing europium, with the most important sources being bastnäsite and monazite. Europium has also been identified in the spectra of the sun and certain stars. Depletion or enrichment of europium in minerals relative to other rare earth elements is known as the europium anomaly.
Divalent europium in small amounts happens to be the activator of the bright blue fluorescence of some samples of the mineral fluorite (calcium difluoride). The most outstanding examples of this originated around Weardale, and adjacent parts of northern England, and indeed it was this fluorite that gave its name to the phenomenon of fluorescence, although it was not until much later that europium was discovered or determined to be the cause.
Europium is found in minerals xenotime, monazite, and bastnäsite. The first two are orthophosphate minerals LnPO4 (Ln denotes a mixture of all the lanthanides except promethium which is vanishingly rare due to being radioactive) and the third is a fluoride carbonate LnCO3F. Lanthanoids with even atomic numbers are more common. The most common lanthanides in these minerals are, in order, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, and praseodymium. Monazite also contains thorium and yttrium, which makes handling difficult since thorium and its decomposition products are radioactive.
For many purposes it is not particularly necessary to separate the metals, but if separation into individual metals is required, the process is complex. Initially, the metals are extracted as salts from the ores by extraction with sulfuric acid (H2SO4), hydrochloric acid (HCl), and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Modern purification techniques for these lanthanide salt mixtures involve selective complexation techniques, solvent extractions, and ion exchange chromatography.
Pure europium is available through the electrolysis of a mixture of molten EuCl3 and NaCl (or CaCl2) in a graphite cell which acts as cathode, using graphite as anode. The other product is chlorine gas.
There are many commercial applications for europium metal: it has been used to dope some types of glass to make lasers, as well as for screening for Down syndrome and some other genetic diseases. Due to its ability to absorb neutrons, it is also being studied for use in nuclear reactors. Europium oxide (Eu2O3) is widely used as a red phosphor in television sets and fluorescent lamps, and as an activator for yttrium-based phosphors. Whereas trivalent europium gives red phosphors, the luminescence of divalent europium depends on the host lattice, but tends to be on the blue side. The two europium phosphor classes (red and blue), combined with the yellow/green terbium phosphors give "white" light, the color temperature of which can be varied by altering the proportion or specific composition of the individual phosphors. This is the phosphor system typically encountered in the helical fluorescent lightbulbs. Combining the same three classes is one way to make trichromatic systems in TV and computer screens. It is also being used as an agent for the manufacture of fluorescent glass. Europium fluorescence is used to interrogate biomolecular interactions in drug-discovery screens. It is also used in the anti-counterfeiting phosphors in Euro banknotes.
Europium is commonly included in trace element studies in geochemistry and petrology to understand the processes that form igneous rocks (rocks that cooled from magma or lava). The nature of the europium anomaly found is used to help reconstruct the relationships within a suite of igneous rocks.
The toxicity of europium compounds has not been fully investigated, but there are no clear indications that europium is highly toxic compared to other heavy metals. The metal dust presents a fire and explosion hazard. Europium has no known biological role.
EUROPIUM, a metallic chemical element, symbol Eu, atomic weight 152 0 (0 =16). The oxide Eu 2 0 3 occurs in very small quantity in the minerals of the rare earths, and was first obtained in 1896 by E. A. Demargay from Lecoq de Boisbaudran's samarium; G. Urbain and H. Lacombe in 1904 obtained the pure salts by fractional crystallization of the nitric acid solution with magnesium nitrate in the presence of bismuth nitrate. The salts have a faint pink colour, and show a faint absorption spectrum; the spark spectrum is brilliant and well characterized.