Silicon vs Germanium
Silicon and germanium, are both in the same group (group 14) of the periodic table. Hence, they have four electrons in the outer energy level. They occur in two oxidation states, +2 and +4. Silicon and germanium share similar physical and chemical characteristics, since both are metalloids.
Silicon is the element with atomic number 14, and it is in the group 14 of the periodic table, just below carbon. It is shown by the symbol Si. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p2. Silicon can remove four electrons and form a +4 charged cation, or it can share these electrons to form four covalent bonds. Silicon is characterized as a metalloid because it has both metal and nonmetal properties. Silicon is a hard and inert metalloid solid. Melting point of silicon is 1414 oC, and the boiling point is 3265 oC. Crystal like silicon is very brittle. It exists very rarely as pure silicon in nature. Mainly, it occurs as the oxide or silicate. Since the silicon is protected with an outer oxide layer, it is less susceptible to chemical reactions. High temperatures are needed for it to oxidize. In contrast, silicon reacts with fluorine at room temperature. Silicon does not react with acids but reacts with concentrated alkalis.
There are lots of industrial uses of silicon. Silicon is a semiconductor, therefore, use in computers and electronic devices. Silicon compounds like silica or silicates are widely used in ceramic, glass and cement industries.
Germanium was found by Clemens Winkler in 1886. Germanium is shown by the symbol Ge, and its atomic number is 32. This is in the periodic table, below Si. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p2. Ge is a metalloid having a crystal structure similar to that of diamond. It is hard, brittle and has a grey-white color. Melting point of Ge is around 937 oC, and the boiling point is 2830 oC. Ge is naturally found in the earth crust. It is present in minerals like briartite, germanite, and argyrodite. It has five naturally occurring isotopes, as well. 74Ge is the most common isotope, which has 36% abundance. Ge is chemically and physically similar to silicon. Ge is stable in the air and water. And it doesn’t react with dilute acids and alkali solutions. Like Si, Ge is also used as a semiconductor material in transistors and other electronic devices. Ge commonly has both +4 and +2 oxidation states, but most commonly occur in +4 state. When elemental Ge is exposed to air, it slowly converts to the dioxidize form, GeO2.
What is the difference between Silicon and Germanium?
• Germanium has d electrons, but Si does not.
• Germanium atom has a larger radius than silicon.
• In a certain temperature, germanium will have more free electrons than silicon. Thus, the conductivity of germanium is higher.
• When considering semiconductors of two elements, silicon conductors are widely used because they can be used at higher temperatures than Ge conductors.