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Printing a better microgrid

The future of electronic displays will be thin, flexible and durable. One barrier to this, however, is that one of the most widely used transparent conductors for electronic displays—indium tin oxide (ITO)—doesn't perform ...

The science behind varying performance of different colored LEDs

Researchers from the Low Energy Electronic Systems (LEES) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT's research enterprise in Singapore, together with Massachusetts ...

Optoelectronic devices that emit warm and cool white light

The advantages of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), such as their tiny size, low cost and excellent power efficiency, mean they are found everywhere in modern life. A KAUST team has recently developed a way of producing a white-light ...

Thin-skinned solar panels printed with inkjet

Solar cells can now be made so thin, light and flexible that they can rest on a soap bubble. The new cells, which efficiently capture energy from light, could offer an alternative way to power novel electronic devices, such ...

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Indium

Indium ( /ˈɪndiəm/ in-dee-əm) is a chemical element with the symbol In and atomic number 49. This rare, very soft, malleable and easily fusible post-transition metal is chemically similar to gallium and thallium, and shows the intermediate properties between these two. Indium was discovered in 1863 and named for the indigo blue line in its spectrum that was the first indication of its existence in zinc ores, as a new and unknown element. The metal was first isolated in the following year. Zinc ores continue to be the primary source of indium, where it is found in compound form. Very rarely the element can be found as grains of native (free) metal, but these are not of commercial importance.

Indium's current primary application is to form transparent electrodes from indium tin oxide in liquid crystal displays and touchscreens, and this use largely determines its global mining production. It is widely used in thin-films to form lubricated layers (during World War II it was widely used to coat bearings in high-performance aircraft). It is also used for making particularly low melting point alloys, and is a component in some lead-free solders.

Indium is not known to be used by any organism. In a similar way to aluminium salts, indium(III) ions can be toxic to the kidney when given by injection, but oral indium compounds do not have the chronic toxicity of salts of heavy metals, probably due to poor absorption in basic conditions. Radioactive indium-111 (in very small amounts on a chemical basis) is used in nuclear medicine tests, as a radiotracer to follow the movement of labeled proteins and white blood cells in the body.

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