Gadolinium is rare silvery-white metal with an atomic number of 64 and the chemical symbol Gd. It was first detected in 1880. It was named Gadolinium after gadolinite, one of the minerals in which it is found. It is only found in its salt form in nature, but can be refined into metals and chelates. Gadolinium is primarily used in the medical and metal industries for specialised purposes. Gadolinium has no large scale uses, but this article will detail how gadolinium is used in the world today.
Uses of Gadolinium
- Due to its high neutron cross section, Gadolinium is used to target tumours in neutron therapy.
- Gadolinium is used in nuclear marine propulsion systems as a burnable poison, a way to control the effectiveness of the fuel.
- It is also used to shield nuclear reactors and is used as the secondary emergency shut-down method in some reactors.
- Gadolinium is added in very small amounts to iron and chromium to increase the workability and resistance to high temperatures and oxidization.
- Gadolinium is paramagnetic at room temperature. This allows it to be a very effective contrast agent in MRI and MRA procedures.
- Gadolinium, in its phosphor form, is also used in x-ray imaging in the detector. It converts the x-rays into light.
- Gadolinium phosphors are also used to make the green tubes in colour televisions and in compact discs.
- Gadolinium isotopes are used to calibrate and test nuclear medical equipment so that images are sharper and aligned.
- Gadolinium is used as a gamma radiation source for some forms of x-ray machines and bone density gauges.
- Various types of garnets are made from gadolinium. Gadolinium yttrium garnets are used to make optical components and film. Gadolinium gallium garnets are used as imitation diamonds and for computer bubble memory.