er·​bi·​um | \ ˈər-bē-əm How to pronounce erbium (audio) \

Definition of erbium

: a metallic chemical element of the rare-earth group with atomic number 68 that is used especially in lasers, infrared light filters, and optical fibers — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of erbium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those nanoparticles contain two rare-earth elements, erbium and ytterbium, which help convert the infrared light into a higher energy green light that mammal eyes can detect. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Nanoparticles Will Give You Superhuman Night Vision," 27 Aug. 2019 The beam excites the erbium atoms, which then add their energy to optical data signals passing through the fiber and boost the signals' power enough to carry them 50 miles or more before needing another boost. Josh Mchugh, WIRED, "Beam On," 1 Aug. 2001

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erbium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of erbium

1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for erbium

New Latin, from Ytterby, Sweden

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The first known use of erbium was in 1843

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Cite this Entry

“Erbium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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er·​bi·​um | \ ˈər-bē-əm How to pronounce erbium (audio) \

Medical Definition of erbium

: a metallic element of the rare-earth group that occurs with yttrium symbol Er — see Chemical Elements Table

More from Merriam-Webster on erbium

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with erbium Encyclopedia article about erbium

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