Known as indium, this silver white, lustrous metal is a member of Group 13 and has an atomic number of 36. Indium is also a component of phosphide, arsenide and antimonide, and can be found in a variety of semiconductor materials such as the ones used for LCD displays and OLEDs.
Indium is an inorganic element that was discovered by German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymus Theodor Richter in 1863. The two were working on zinc blende, a mixture of sphalerite and zinc, when they noticed the presence of a rich indigo line in its spectrum.
It is produced as a by-product of smelting zinc and lead sulfide ores. Some sphalerite ores can contain up to 1% indium; specimens have been found in Russia and Siberia, but they are rare.
Indium is used in a wide range of applications, from coating silver to making solders for electronics. It is also a component of several semiconductor materials, including the ones that are used for the transistors in LCD and OLED displays.
Some indium is also plated on bearings and other metal surfaces to make them corrosion-resistant. This element is also deposited on glass to form a mirror, which resists oxidation.
Indium is a relatively rare element, though it can be produced worldwide from the smelting of zinc and lead sulfide OREs. It is a by-product of the smelting process, and can be recovered in various ways after it has been collected in the zinc residues or by electrowinning.