2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Chemical elements

67 dysprosiumholmiumerbium


Periodic Table - Extended Periodic Table
Name, Symbol, Number holmium, Ho, 67
Chemical series lanthanides
Group, Period, Block n/a, 6, f
Appearance silvery white
Atomic mass 164.93032 (2) g/mol
Electron configuration [Xe] 4f11 6s2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 29, 8, 2
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density (near r.t.) 8.79 g·cm−3
Liquid density at m.p. 8.34 g·cm−3
Melting point 1734  K
(1461 ° C, 2662 ° F)
Boiling point 2993 K
(2720 ° C, 4928 ° F)
Heat of fusion 17.0 kJ·mol−1
Heat of vaporization 265 kJ·mol−1
Heat capacity (25 °C) 27.15 J·mol−1·K−1
Vapor pressure
P/Pa 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T/K 1432 1584 (1775) (2040) (2410) (2964)
Atomic properties
Crystal structure hexagonal
Oxidation states 3
( basic oxide)
Electronegativity 1.23 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies
( more)
1st: 581.0 kJ·mol−1
2nd: 1140 kJ·mol−1
3rd: 2204 kJ·mol−1
Atomic radius 175 pm
Magnetic ordering no data
Electrical resistivity ( r.t.) (poly) 814 nΩ·m
Thermal conductivity (300 K) 16.2 W·m−1·K−1
Thermal expansion ( r.t.) (poly)
11.2 µm/(m·K)
Speed of sound (thin rod) (20 °C) 2760 m/s
Young's modulus 64.8 GPa
Shear modulus 26.3 GPa
Bulk modulus 40.2 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.231
Vickers hardness 481 MPa
Brinell hardness 746 MPa
CAS registry number 7440-60-0
Selected isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of holmium
iso NA half-life DM DE ( MeV) DP
163Ho syn 4570 a ε 0.003 163Dy
164Ho syn 29 min ε 0.987 164Dy
165Ho 100% Ho is stable with 98 neutrons
166Ho syn 26,763 h β- 1.855 166Er
167Ho syn 3,1 h β- 1.007 167Er

Holmium ( IPA: /ˈhəʊlmiəm/) is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Ho and atomic number 67. Part of the lanthanide series, holmium is a relatively soft and malleable silvery-white metallic element, which is stable in dry air at room temperature. A rare earth metal, it is found in the minerals monazite and gadolinite.

Notable characteristics

A trivalent metallic rare earth element, holmium has the highest magnetic moment (10.6µB) of any naturally-occurring element and possesses other unusual magnetic properties. When combined with yttrium, it forms highly magnetic compounds.

Holmium is a relatively soft and malleable element that is fairly corrosion-resistant and stable in dry air at standard temperature and pressure. In moist air and at higher temperatures, however, it quickly oxidizes, forming a yellowish oxide. In pure form, holmium possesses a metallic, bright silvery luster.


Because of its magnetic properties, holmium has been used to create the strongest artificially-generated magnetic fields when placed within high-strength magnets as a magnetic pole piece (also called a magnetic flux concentrator). Since it can absorb nuclear fission-bred neutrons, the element is also used in nuclear control rods. Other commercial applications of the element include;

  • its very high magnetic moment is suitable for use in yttrium-iron- garnet (YIG) and yttrium-lanthanum- fluoride (YLF) solid state lasers found in microwave equipment (which are in turn found in a variety of medical and dental settings).
  • Holmium oxide is used as a yellow glass coloring.
  • Holmium is used in a laser to break up kidney stones while being minimally invasive

Few other uses have been identified for this element.


Holmium (Holmia, Latin name for Stockholm) was discovered by Marc Delafontaine and Jacques Louis Soret in 1878 who noticed the aberrant spectrographic absorption bands of the then-unknown element (they called it "Element X"). Later in 1878, Per Teodor Cleve independently discovered the element while he was working on erbia earth ( erbium oxide).

Using the method developed by Carl Gustaf Mosander, Cleve first removed all of the known contaminants from erbia. The result of that effort was two new materials, one brown and one green. He named the brown substance holmia (after the Latin name for Cleve's home town, Stockholm) and the green one thulia. Holmia was later found to be the holmium oxide and thulia was thulium oxide.


Like all other rare earths, holmium is not naturally found as a free element. It does occur combined with other elements in the minerals gadolinite, monazite, and in other rare-earth minerals. It is commercially extracted via ion-exchange from monazite sand (0.05% holmium) but is still difficult to separate from other rare earths. The element has been isolated through the reduction of its anhydrous chloride or fluoride with metallic calcium. Its estimated abundance in the Earth's crust is 1.3 milligrams per kilogram.


Natural holmium contains one stable isotope, holmium 165. Some synthetic radioactive isotopes are known, the most stable one is holmium 163, with a half life of 4570 years. All other radioisotopes have half lives not greater than 1.117 days, and most have half lives under 3 hours.


The element, as with other rare earths, appears to have a low acute toxic rating. Holmium plays no biological role in humans but may be able to stimulate metabolism.

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