Lutetium Facts

Lutetium Facts
Lutetium (Lu) has an atomic number of seventy-one. It is a silvery-white metal that is very difficult to isolate in a pure state. Three separate scientists discovered lutetium in 1907, independent of each other.
Interesting Lutetium Facts:
Charles James, Georges Urbain, and Carl Auer von Welsbach each extracted lutetium from a sample of the mineral ytterbia.
After dispute between the three scientists, Urbain was allowed to name the element because his results were published first.
Lutetium atoms are the smallest of any of the lanthanides.
The contraction which causes that small size also causes lutetium to have the highest melting point, the highest density, and the highest hardness of all lanthanides.
There are two naturally occurring isotopes of lutetium.
Only one of those isotopes, lutetium-175, is stable, making it a monoisotopic element.
The unstable isotope, lutetium-176, has a half-life of almost 38 trillion years.
Only 2.5% of the lutetium found on Earth is in the unstable form.
There are an additional 32 synthetic readioactive isotopes of lutetium.
Lutetium is never found on Earth in a pure state, but is always found in a mineral with other elements.
Lutetium is only available in the Earth's crust at about 0.5 milligrams per kilogram.
The entire global production of lutetium is only around ten tons each year.
Lutetium is one of the most expensive rare earth metals, costing approximately $10,000US per kilogram.
The most abundant commercial mineral that contains lutetium is monazite, which is about 0.0001% of the lutetium.
Because it is so expensive and so difficult to extract, there are very few commercial uses for lutetium.
Lutetium's stable isotope is used in the petroleum industry as a catalyst.
The lutetium-aluminium-garnet has been researched for possible uses in highly specialized lithography.
Stable lutetium is also used with other agents as a detecting reactant in medical PET tests.
The unstable isotopes of lutetium have more scientific applications, such as dating meteorites and as a radionuclide treatment for certain tumors.

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