HHomeBackground Color:He
LiBeTellurium Pictures PageBlack White GrayBCNOFNe
NaMgTellurium Technical DataAlSiPSClAr
KCaTellurium Isotope DataScTiVCrMnFeCoNiCuZnGaGeAsSeBrKr
RbSrYZrNbMoTcRuRhPdAgCdInSnSbTeIXe
CsBaLaCePrNdPmSmEuGdTbDyHoErTmYbLuHfTaWReOsIrPtAuHgTlPbBiPoAtRn
FrRaAcThPaUNpPuAmCmBkCfEsFmMdNoLrRfDbSgBhHsMtDsRgCnUutUuqUupUuhUusUuo
Tellurium     

Tellurium

Atomic Weight 127.6
Density 6.24 g/cm3
Melting Point 449.51 °C
Boiling Point 988 °C
Full technical data

Tellurium is hardly ever used in pure form, but these beautiful slender crystals are how it is distributed. Research is hindered by the fact that if you absorb even tiny amounts, you smell of garlic for months.

Scroll down to see examples of Tellurium.
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Tellurium Native tellurium

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Native tellurium.
Small but pretty sample of native (naturally occurring) tellurium.
Source: eBay seller hexoctboy
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 13 January, 2010
Text Updated: 13 January, 2010
Price: $26
Size: 0.5"
Purity: <90%
Tellurium Tellurium suboxide DVD-RW disk

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Tellurium suboxide DVD-RW disk.
CD-RW and DVD-RW disks use tellurium suboxide in the active data-recording layer.
Source: Walmart
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 29 April, 2009
Text Updated: 30 April, 2009
Price: $2
Size: 7"
Purity: <1%
Tellurium Bismuth telluride heat pump

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Bismuth telluride heat pump.
This is a small bismuth telluride thermoelectric heat pump. Apply a DC voltage and one side gets cold while the other side gets hot. If you attach a good heat sink and fan to the hot side, you can pump heat out of something, cooling it down. This particular device was deployed inside a USB-powered mini-fridge designed to cool one can of soda using power from your computer.
Source: eBay seller goods_keeper
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 March, 2009
Text Updated: 29 March, 2009
Price: $6
Size: 1.5"
Purity: <20%
Tellurium Pretty surface crystals

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Pretty surface crystals.
Description supplied by the source:
This is what happens when pure tellurium is melted homogeneously and allowed to solidify in a vacuum-fairly unbelievable crystals. This piece was broken off of a different disc in order to get some insight into the internal structure-surprisingly, you can see that the top crystalline surface is basically analogous to frosting on a cake-it looks completely separate from the main melted body. Beautiful crystals though, like ice on a window.
Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 30 April, 2008
Text Updated: 2 May, 2008
Price: Anonymous
Size: 2"
Purity: 99.99%
Tellurium Pretty surface crystals

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Pretty surface crystals.
Description supplied by the source:
This is what happens when pure tellurium is melted homogeneously and allowed to solidify in a vacuum-fairly unbelievable crystals. Disks like the one shown, with the incredible crystalline structure, are only as difficult to make as the largest mold or vacuum arc chamber available to you.
Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 30 April, 2008
Text Updated: 2 May, 2008
Price: Anonymous
Size: 3"
Purity: 99.99%
Tellurium Tiny crystal

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Tiny crystal.
This is a small chip from a small bag of tellurium crystals I received from Oliver Sacks on a visit. I used it to test my very small turntable, constructed to allow accurate rotation of samples down to a couple of mm in size.
Source: Oliver Sacks
Contributor: Oliver Sacks
Acquired: 4 August, 2004
Price: Donated
Size: 0.1"
Purity: 99.9%
Tellurium Hollow cathode lamp

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Hollow cathode lamp.
Lamps like this are available for a very wide range of elements: Click the Sample Group link below to get a list of all the elements I have lamps like this for. They are used as light sources for atomic absorption spectrometers, which detect the presence of elements by seeing whether a sample absorbs the very specific wavelengths of light associated with the electronic transitions of the given element. The lamp uses an electric arc to stimulate the element it contains to emit its characteristic wavelengths of light: The same electronic transitions are responsible for emission and absorption, so the wavelengths are the same.
In theory, each different lamp should produce a different color of light characteristic of its element. Unfortunately, the lamps all use neon as a carrier gas: You generally have to have such a carrier gas present to maintain the electric arc. Neon emits a number of very strong orange-red lines that overwhelm the color of the specific element. In a spectrometer this is no problem because you just use a prism or diffraction grating to separate the light into a spectrum, then block out the neon lines. But it does mean that they all look pretty much the same color to the naked eye.
I've listed the price of all the lamps as $20, but that's really just a rough average: I paid varying amounts at various eBay auctions for these lamps, which list for a lot more from an instrument supplier.
(Truth in photography: These lamps all look alike. I have just duplicated a photo of one of them to use for all of them, because they really do look exactly the same regardless of what element is inside. The ones listed are all ones I actually have in the collection.)
Source: eBay seller heruur
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 December, 2003
Price: $20
Size: 8"
Purity: 99.9%
Sample Group: Atomic Emission Lamps
Tellurium Big crystals

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Big crystals.
I was about to bid too much for some small tellurium crystals on eBay. Fortunately Max came to my rescue, saying he had plenty and it wasn't really very expensive. So now I have a nice big chunk and it didn't cost me anything.

I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Periodic Table Poster

Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 1 June, 2003
Text Updated: 4 May, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Purity: 99.99%
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Tellurium Sample from the Everest Set

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Sample from the Everest Set.
Up until the early 1990's a company in Russia sold a periodic table collection with element samples. At some point their American distributor sold off the remaining stock to a man who is now selling them on eBay. The samples (except gases) weigh about 0.25 grams each, and the whole set comes in a very nice wooden box with a printed periodic table in the lid.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description and information about how to buy one, or you can see photographs of all the samples from the set displayed on my website in a periodic table layout or with bigger pictures in numerical order.

Source: Rob Accurso
Contributor: Rob Accurso
Acquired: 7 February, 2003
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: >99%
Tellurium Sample from the RGB Set

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Sample from the RGB Set.
The Red Green and Blue company in England sells a very nice element collection in several versions. Max Whitby, the director of the company, very kindly donated a complete set to the periodic table table.

To learn more about the set you can visit my page about element collecting for a general description or the company's website which includes many photographs and pricing details. I have two photographs of each sample from the set: One taken by me and one from the company. You can see photographs of all the samples displayed in a periodic table format: my pictures or their pictures. Or you can see both side-by-side with bigger pictures in numerical order.

The picture on the left was taken by me. Here is the company's version (there is some variation between sets, so the pictures sometimes show different variations of the samples):


Source: Max Whitby of RGB
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 25 January, 2003
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: 99.999%
Tellurium Small crystal,  99.999%

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Small crystal, 99.999%.
Kindly donated by David Franco, who sent many elements after seeing the slashdot discussion, and this one after I sent him some Mathematica t-shirts.
This is a very fine shiny and very pure crystal.
Source: David Franco
Contributor: David Franco
Acquired: 11 June, 2002
Price: Donated
Size: 0.2"
Purity: 99.999%
Tellurium Emmonsite

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Emmonsite.
Description from the source:
Emmonsite (Fe2+3 Te3+4 O9 x 2 H2 O tric.), Moctezuma, Sonora, Mexico. Green crust on matrix, rare. 1,1x1x0,7 cm; 4 g with box.
Source: Simone Citon
Contributor: John Gray
Acquired: 13 January, 2010
Text Updated: 13 January, 2010
Price: Trade
Size: 0.5"
Composition: Fe3Te4O9.2(H2O)
Tellurium Lead telluride

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Lead telluride.
A research sample of lead telluride.
Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 29 October, 2009
Text Updated: 29 October, 2009
Price: Anonymous
Size: 0.5"
Composition: PbTe
Tellurium Himalayan sea salt

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Himalayan sea salt.
There is a list of 84 elements that seems to pop up repeatedly in the ingredient lists of "natural" mineral products, supplements, pills, and the like. Even, it turns out, in salt. Here then is the list of minerals claimed to be found in all-natural organic Himalayan sea salt:
hydrogen, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, fluoride, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, chloride, calcium, scandium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, gallium, germanium, arsenic, selenium, bromine, rubidium, strontium, yttrium, zirconium, niobium, molybdenum, ruthenium, rhodium palladium, silver, cadmium, indium, tin, antimony, tellurium, iodine, cesium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, hafnium, tantalum, tungsten, rhenium, osmium, iridium, platinum, gold, mercury, thallium, lead, bismuth, polonium, astatine, francium, radium, actinium, thorium, protactinium, uranium, neptunium and plutonium.
I wish someone would tell these people that, for example, neptunium and plutonium do not occur in nature at all, let alone in salt. Unless, I suppose, if you count nuclear fallout as a "natural" source of ingredients.
What bothers me most is what this says about the level of scientific literacy, both of the people selling the stuff, and the people buying it. Does no one actually read the list? Or do they read it an not realize how preposterous it is? It's enough to make you despair for the future of mankind.
Pretty salt, though.
Source: eBay seller saltwonders
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 March, 2009
Text Updated: 4 April, 2009
Price: $15
Size: 0.25"
Composition: NaClSbCsDyErEuGdHfHoInLaLuNdPrSmScThTlTeTbTmYbY
Tellurium Himalayan salt lamp

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Himalayan salt lamp.
A pretty hollow lamp made of solid rock salt from the Himalays. The composition I list is a partial list of the elements claimed to be in this type of salt (see my other Himalayan sea salt sample for a discussion of how silly this is).
Source: eBay seller saltwonders
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 March, 2009
Text Updated: 3 April, 2009
Price: $29
Size: 8"
Composition: NaClSbCsDyErEuGdHfHoInLaLuNdPrSmScThTlTeTbTmYbY
Tellurium Insane mineral capsules

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Insane mineral capsules.
These minerals capsules are called "Immune Boost 77", from Morningstar Minerals. They are either being incredibly honest, or they really don't understand what they're saying when they list what amounts to nearly the entire periodic table on the label, as the "trace minerals" they contain.

Here is the list in all its glory, typed in by my daughter in exchange for my paying for a membership in the Miley Cyrus fan club: Antimony, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Boron, Bromine, Calcium, Carbon, Cerium, Cesium, Chloride, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Florine, Gadolinium, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Hafnium, Holmium, Indium, Iodine, Iridium, Iron, Lanthanum, Lithium, Lutetium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Neodymium, Niacin, Nickel, Niobium, Osmium, Palladium, Phosphorus, Platinum, Potassium, Praseodymium, Rhenium, Rhodium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Scandium, Selenium, Silicon, Silver, Sodium, Strontium, Sulfur, Tantalum, Thallium, Thorium, Tellurium, Terbium, Thulium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium, Ytterbium, Yttrium, Zinc, Zirconium.

Some of them are just silly, like thulium, which has absolutely no biological function. Others are a bit scarier, like thallium and thorium that are deadly poisons, and tellurium, which makes you smell of rotten onions for weeks.

Basically what they've done is list everything that occurs in even trace amounts in mixed monazite sand, which is kind of what the stuff inside looks like. The only reason they aren't seriously harmful (I assume) is that most of these are not actually present in any meaningful quantity.

My attention is drawn to these and other similar mineral supplements every time I decide to see if anything interesting has popped up on eBay for one or another of the obscure rare earths. Generally speaking if you search eBay for those guys you get very little of interest unless you turn on the option to search the text of the item description as well as the titles. Then you get lots of trace mineral supplements that one can only hope don't actually contain them.

Source: eBay seller grandma-adams
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 24 March, 2009
Text Updated: 29 March, 2009
Price: $15
Size: 0.75"
Composition: SbCsDyErEuGdHfHoInLaLuNdPrSmScThTlTeTbTmYbY
Tellurium Calverite from Jensan set

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Calverite from Jensan set.
This sample represents tellurium in the "The Grand Tour of the Periodic Table" mineral collection from Jensan Scientifics. Visit my page about element collecting for a general description, or see photographs of all the samples from the set in a periodic table layout or with bigger pictures in numerical order.
Source: Jensan Scientifics
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 January, 2009
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: Anonymous
Size: 1.5"
Composition: AuTe2
Tellurium Photo Card Deck of the Elements

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Photo Card Deck of the Elements.
In late 2006 I published a photo periodic table and it's been selling well enough to encourage me to make new products. This one is a particularly neat one: A complete card deck of the elements with one big five-inch (12.7cm) square card for every element. If you like this site and all the pictures on it, you'll love this card deck. And of course if you're wondering what pays for all the pictures and the internet bandwidth to let you look at them, the answer is people buying my posters and cards decks. Hint hint.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 19 November, 2008
Text Updated: 21 November, 2008
Price: $35
Size: 5"
Composition: HHeLiBeBCNOFNeNaMg AlSiPSClArKCaScTiVCrMn FeCoNiCuZnGaGeAsSeBrKr RbSrYZrNbMoTcRuRhPdAg CdInSnSbTeIXeCsBaLaCePr NdPmSmEuGdTbDyHoErTm YbLuHfTaWReOsIrPtAuHgTl PbBiPoAtRnFrRaAcThPaUNp PuAmCmBkCfEsFmMdNoLrRf DbSgBhHsMtDsRgUubUutUuq UupUuhUusUuo
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!
Tellurium BiTeEr lump

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BiTeEr lump.
This is a roughly bullet-shaped lump of what is described on the envelope it came in as about half Bi, half Te, and a trace of Er. Actually the exact percentages are given, but in deference to whoever discarded this item I'm not listing them, in case they represent some kind of secret formula for making really good lumps of metal, or something. Ethan seems to have gotten into a batch of strange tellurium compounds someone at his university was throwing away: I'm going to be listing more of them soon.
Reader Anders Mikkelsen suggests that this alloy may have been used in research into Peltier junctions.
Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 18 March, 2007
Text Updated: 28 March, 2009
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Composition: BiTeEr
Tellurium Sylvanite

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Sylvanite.
The tag that came with sample reads as follows:
Sylvanite, Bessie G Mine - La Plata County Near Durango, Colorado.
I traded this sample for a few of my strange copper nodules.
A mineral composed of gold and/or silver, plus tellurium? What could be more exotic!
Source: Calvin Webb
Contributor: Calvin Webb
Acquired: 1 September, 2003
Price: Donated
Size: 1"
Composition: (Au,Ag)2Te4
Tellurium Native tellurium

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Native tellurium. (External Sample)
Natural mineral sample.
Location: The Harvard Museum of Natural History
Photographed: 2 October, 2002
Size: 4
Purity: >90%
The Elements book Mad Science book Periodic Table Poster  Click here to buy a book, photographic periodic table poster, card deck, or 3D print based on the images you see here!