Germanium
Germanium is named from the Latin Germania, Germany and was discovered as a distinct element in 1886. Germanium is found in argyrodite, a sulfide of germanium and silver; in germanite, which contains 8% of the element; in zinc ores; in coal and other minerals. The element is frequently obtained commercially from flue dusts of smelters producing zinc ores, and has been discovered from the by-products of combustion of certain coals. Germanium can be seperated from other metals by fractional distillation of its volatile tetrachloride. Germanium is a gray-white metalloid, and in its pure state is brittle and crystalline. It is a very important semiconductor material. Doped with arsenic, gallium or other elements, it is used as a transistor element in thousands of electronic applications. Its application as a semiconductor element provides the largest use for germanium.