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High pressure creates new neighbours for beryllium

The rare element beryllium is mainly known for being a component of emeralds, aquamarines, and other precious stones. However, in Nature Communications, an international team of scientists from the University of Bayreuth ...

Do alpha particle condensates exist in oxygen nuclei?

Nuclei in their lowest energy states (ground state) are composed of neutrons and protons. Two protons and two neutrons in a nucleus can cluster together to form alpha particles. When the nucleus gets nearly enough energy ...

Physicists 'flash-freeze' crystal of 150 ions

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have "flash-frozen" a flat crystal of 150 beryllium ions (electrically charged atoms), opening new possibilities for simulating magnetism at the quantum ...

Coping with errors in the quantum age

Quantum systems can be manipulated with extremely high precision, but not perfectly. Researchers in the Department of Physics at ETH Zurich have now demonstrated how to monitor and correct errors that occur during such operations.

Nuclear puzzle may be clue to fifth force

In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unravelling a mystery in the beryllium nucleus that may be evidence for a fifth force ...

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Beryllium

Beryllium ( /bəˈrɪliəm/ bə-ril-ee-əm) is the chemical element with the symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is a divalent element which occurs naturally only in combination with other elements in minerals. Notable gemstones which contain beryllium include beryl (aquamarine, emerald) and chrysoberyl. As a free element it is a steel-gray, strong, lightweight and brittle alkaline earth metal.

Beryllium is used primarily as a hardening agent in alloys, notably beryllium copper. In structural applications, high flexural rigidity, thermal stability, thermal conductivity and low density (1.85 times that of water) make beryllium a quality aerospace material for high-speed aircraft, missiles, space vehicles and communication satellites. Because of its low density and atomic mass, beryllium is relatively transparent to X-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation; therefore, it is the most common window material for X-ray equipment and in particle physics experiments. The high thermal conductivity of beryllium and beryllium oxide have led to their use in heat transport and heat sinking applications.

The commercial use of beryllium metal presents technical challenges due to the toxicity (especially by inhalation) of beryllium-containing dusts. Beryllium is corrosive to tissue, and can cause a chronic life-threatening allergic disease called berylliosis in some people. As it is not synthesized in stars, beryllium is a relatively rare element in both the Earth and the universe. The element is not known to be necessary or useful for either plant or animal life.

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