The lanthanides

  • Simon Cotton
Part of the Macmillan Physical Science Series book series (PHYSSS)


In 1794, J. Gadolin obtained yttria, impure yttrium oxide, from the mineral now known as gadolinite, while in 1803, Berzelius and Klaproth isolated the first cerium compound. Subsequent research over the ensuing century demonstrated, first, that yttria was a mixture of the oxides of yttrium, erbium and terbium; and that cerite was made up of the oxides of lanthanum and cerium (Mosander, 1839–43); secondly that the original ‘erbium oxide’ in fact contained erbium, holmium, thulium and ytterbium (Cleve, Marignac, 1878–80). Similarly, Mosander’s separation of ‘didymium’ from lanthanum was later eclipsed by its separation into samarium, europium, neodymium and praseodymium.


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  1. D. M. Yost, H. Russell Jr and C. S. Garner, The Rare Earths and their Compounds, John Wiley, 1947.Google Scholar
  2. R. C. Vickery, The Chemistry of Yttrium and Scandium, Pergamon, 1960; CIC, 3, 329.Google Scholar
  3. T. Moeller, CIC, 4, 1.Google Scholar
  4. N. E. Topp, The Chemistry of the Rare Earth Elements, Elsevier, 1965.Google Scholar
  5. G. R. Choppin, LPL, 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Simon Cotton 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Cotton
    • 1
  1. 1.Felixstowe CollegeUK

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