yt·​ter·​bi·​um | \ i-ˈtər-bē-əm How to pronounce ytterbium (audio) \

Definition of ytterbium

: a soft metallic element of the rare-earth group that occurs especially with other rare earth elements in minerals and that has few commercial uses — see Chemical Elements Table

Examples of ytterbium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Here, the quantum state is not generally stored in a single ytterbium ion. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Quantum computing’s also-rans and their fatal flaws," 30 Nov. 2019 In one experiment, a group led by Christopher Monroe of the University of Maryland, College Park, created a time crystal in an engineered system of a chain of ytterbium ions. Frank Wilczek, Scientific American, "The Exquisite Precision of Time Crystals," 16 Oct. 2019 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 With names like europium, scandium and ytterbium, the bulk of rare earth minerals are extracted from mines in China, where lower wages and lax environmental standards make production cheaper and easier. Washington Post, "US-China trade war sparks worries about rare earth minerals," 8 June 2019 To solve this problem, a group of researchers used a nanoparticle that was doped with ytterbium (a rare-earth metal). Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Transparent solar cell turns edge on and generates its own light," 12 Dec. 2018 Last year, researchers figured out how to create time crystals in a lab for the first time, using a complicated method involving a precision laser and a collection of ytterbium atoms. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Discover 'Time Crystals' Growing Right Under Their Noses," 4 May 2018 To create the time crystals, researchers at University of Maryland hooked together 10 ytterbium atoms and hit them with two lasers multiple times to keep them out of equilibrium. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Create A New Kind Of Matter: Time Crystals," 28 Jan. 2017

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

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First Known Use of ytterbium

1879, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ytterbium

New Latin, from Ytterby, town in southern Sweden

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Time Traveler for ytterbium

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The first known use of ytterbium was in 1879

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ytterbium.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for ytterbium


yt·​ter·​bi·​um | \ i-ˈtər-bē-əm How to pronounce ytterbium (audio) \

Medical Definition of ytterbium

: a bivalent or trivalent metallic element of the rare-earth group that resembles yttrium and occurs with it and related elements in several minerals symbol Yb — see Chemical Elements Table

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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