What is Germanium?

Germanium is a metalloid, which means it has properties of both metals and nonmetals. Another metalloid that for sure you've heard of is silicon.

It is chemically similar to tin and silicon and has the same crystal structure as diamond. It is a rare, silver-coloured semiconductor metal that is most often used in infrared technology, fibre optic cables, and solar cells.

Clemens Winkler, a German chemist, discovered germanium and it's name comes from the Latin name for Germany, named for Winkler's home country.

Germanium is claimed to be beneficial to health, including improving the immune system, oxygen supply in the body, and destroying free radicals. According to Healthline, germanium has also been considered to be beneficial in treating allergies, asthma, arthritis, HIV/AIDS and various forms of cancer.

Trace amounts are found in garlic, ginseng, aloe & comfrey.

Germanium is one of the few elements that expand when it freezes, like water does. Others include gallium, silicon, bismuth and antimony.

The early Voyager space exploration missions in the 1970s relied on power produced by silicon-germanium photovoltaic cells. It is still critical to satellite operations.