Ytterbium is a chemical element with atomic number 70, and is represented by the symbol Yb. It is a soft, silvery metallic element and is used in certain steels. Ytterbium is naturally a mix of seven stable isotopes.
The mineral is malleable and ductile, but not very stable. It can easily be dissolved by mineral acids, slowly reacts in water, and oxidizes readily in air. Its three primary allotropes are called alpha, beta, and gamma; beta exists at room temperature. Though beta ytterbium has a metallic-like conductivity normally, it can become a semiconductor.
One ytterbium isotope is used as a radiation source substitute in portable X-ray machines when there is no electrical source available. It also has promising high-tech applications like active laser media.
Ytterbium is not as well understood as many other elements, largely because it is a rare earth element, generally found with other rare earth elements like monazite sands, euxenite, and xenotime. Modern extraction processes are making it easier to study ytterbium as time goes on.
Ytterbium has seven stable isotopes (Yb-174 being most common) and 22 radioisotopes, most of which are very unstable. It needs to be stored in closed containers to protect it from air and moisture. Ytterbium compounds should be treated as highly toxic; the danger is likely limited, but they do pose eye and skin irritation hazards and may be teratogenic, as well as posing fire and explosion hazards when in dust form.
Web Resources On Ytterbium
Periodic Table: Ytterbium
History of Ytterbium
Book Resources On Ytterbium
Progress towards parity nonconservation in atomic ytterbium by Jason Evan Stalnaker
Extremely compact high power erbium-ytterbium codoped phosphate glass fiber lasers by Li Li