Rare earth elements are being used in various electronic applications such as smartphones, computers, hard drives, electric vehicles, and medical devices due to their unique magnetic, electrochemical, and luminescent properties. Some rare earth metals commonly used in electronics include lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), neodymium (Nd), samarium (Sm), europium (Er), terbium (Tb), and dysprosium (Dy). Rare earths have been widely used in semiconductors, optoelectronic materials, magnetic materials, and other industries.
Semiconductor materials are important basic materials for making transistors, integrated circuits, power electronic devices, and optoelectronic devices. In recent years, the third-generation semiconductor materials represented by ZnO, SiC, and GaN have opened up a new situation in the semiconductor industry. Doping rare earth elements in semiconductor materials can adsorb impurities, thereby effectively improving the purity and integrity of semiconductor materials.
Efficient excitation of rare earth ions usually requires appropriate matrix materials, and oxides are quite ideal matrix materials. Rare earth oxide semiconductors, as a special kind of semiconductor material, have the advantages of rich spectral lines, high color purity, and high luminous efficiency. In addition, due to its special 4f energy band, it has a similar light-emitting mechanism to semiconductors such as ZnO and GaN, and can obtain electroluminescence. Therefore, epitaxial growth of Eu2O3 thin film on silicon wafer can effectively solve the incompatibility problem between GaN, ZnO, and other semiconductor materials and Si substrate; so that silicon-based Eu2O3 thin film electroluminescent device can be perfectly compatible with silicon-based CMOS process.
Optoelectronic materials use photons and electrons as carriers to process, store and transmit information. They are mainly used in the field of information, but also in the fields of energy and national defense.
Rare earths are key materials for solid-state lasers and have important applications in laser weapons, thermonuclear fusion, laser communications, laser processing, and medical treatment. Commonly used rare earth doped laser crystals are: Nd:YAG, Yb:YAG, Nd:GGG, Nd:YVO4, Nd:YAP, Nd:YLiF4, etc.
Rare earth doped fiber materials have also been greatly developed in recent years. Commonly used rare earth ions are Er3+, Yb3+, Tm3+, Ho3+, Nd3+, Pr3+ and so on. Ytterbium-doped fiber is one of the most concerned research hotspots in the field of rare-earth-doped special fiber.
Rare earth permanent magnet materials mainly include sintered NdFeB materials, bonded NdFeB materials, hot-pressed/heat-deformed NdFeB materials, and sintered samarium cobalt materials. As one of the most important application fields of rare earth materials, NdFeB materials are one of the important basic materials supporting the modern electronic information industry and are closely related to people's lives. Due to the extensive use of rare earth permanent magnet materials, the size of many electronic products has been further reduced and the performance has been greatly improved.