Terbium | Descriptions, Properties, Uses & Facts

Terbium | Descriptions, Properties, Uses & Facts

Terbium: Unveiling the Marvels of Element 65


Terbium, a relatively obscure yet fascinating element, holds the atomic number 65 in the periodic table. With the chemical symbol Tb, it belongs to the lanthanide series, a group of rare earth elements that boast unique properties and applications. In this blog, we will delve into the various aspects of terbium, ranging from its atomic properties to its practical applications and interesting facts.

Atomic Structure:

Terbium, with an atomic number of 65, resides in period 6 of the periodic table. Its atomic mass is approximately 158.93 atomic mass units (amu). The electron configuration of terbium is [Xe] 4f6s2, or

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f9 5s2 5p6 6s2 reflecting its placement within the lanthanide series.


Terbium typically exhibits a valency of +3. This valency is a result of the element's tendency to lose three electrons when forming chemical bonds, a characteristic shared with other lanthanides.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

Terbium is a silvery-white, malleable, and ductile metal. It possesses a melting point of around 1,356 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of approximately 3,230 degrees Celsius. Terbium's magnetic properties are notable, as it is one of the few elements to display ferromagnetism at low temperatures.

Terbium Compounds:

Terbium forms various compounds, with terbium(III) oxide (Tb2O₃) being one of the most common. This compound is a crucial component in the production of green phosphors used in color television tubes and other display technologies.

Chemical Reactions with Other Elements:

Terbium readily reacts with oxygen, forming terbium oxide (Tb2O₃). It also reacts with acids, producing salts containing the Tb3+ ion. The element's reactivity is largely attributed to its position in the lanthanide series, where these metals tend to form stable +3 oxidation states.

Occurrence and Production:

Terbium is relatively rare in Earth's crust, occurring at an average concentration of about 1.2 parts per million. It is primarily found in minerals such as xenotime and gadolinite. Extracting terbium involves complex processes like ion exchange and solvent extraction, making its production challenging and costly.


Despite its scarcity, terbium finds applications in various technological and industrial fields. One of its prominent uses is in the manufacturing of phosphors for color television tubes, LED lights, and fluorescent lamps. Terbium compounds are also employed in medical imaging and nuclear reactors.

Facts about Terbium:

1. Terbium is named after the village of Ytterby in Sweden, which is a significant location for the discovery of several rare earth elements.

2. It was first isolated in 1843 by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander.

3. Terbium's green emission is a key component in the production of trichromatic lighting, enhancing the color quality of displays.


Terbium, with its distinctive properties and applications, stands as a testament to the diverse capabilities of the periodic table's lanthanide series. From its role in modern technology to its historical significance, this element continues to capture the imagination of scientists and researchers alike, driving exploration into its potential uses and unlocking new realms of scientific understanding.

Also Read:

Read about all 118 Elements, Symbols, Characteristics, Compounds and Uses

Post a Comment