Dictionary > Erbium


Erbium (symbol: Er) is a metallic element associated with several other rare elements in the mineral gadolinite from Ytterby in Sweden (where its name was derived). Its salts are rose-coloured and give characteristic spectra. Its sesquioxide is called erbia. It has an atomic weight of 165.9. In medicine, it is used in optical fiber amplifier-lasers as it has optical fluorescent properties. It is used in laser surgery and in dental laser enamel ablation. Its function in the human body is largely unknown although it is presumed to stimulate metabolism.1


  1. Emsley, John (2001). “Erbium”. Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 136–139.

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