: a grayish white hard brittle metalloid element that resembles silicon and is used as a semiconductor—symbol Ge; see element table
Semimetallic chemical element, chemical symbol Ge, atomic number 32. Germanium, which resembles silicon in its physical properties, is used especially in semiconductor devices. Discovered in 1886, it became economically significant after 1945 and remains of primary importance in the manufacture of transistors and of components for other devices such as rectifiers (seediode) and photocells. It is also used as a component of alloys, in phosphors for fluorescent lamps, and in the glasses of certain optical components, such as camera and microscope lenses.