Common Applications of Tellurium:
- Photovoltaics, Electronics and Semiconductors:
- Thin-film CdTe photovoltaic panels are the fastest growing segment of the solar industry.
- Bismuth Telluride (Bi2Te3) is used in thermoelectric cooling (TEC) devices.
- Tellurium dioxide is used in the media layer of several types of rewritable optical discs, including rewritable Compact Discs (CD-RW) and Digital Video Discs (DVD-RW).
- Cadmium zinc telluride (CdZnTe) is used in solid-state X-ray detectors.
- Mercury cadmium telluride (HgCdTe) is used as an infrared sensitive semiconductor material.
- The next generation of computer chips, named phase change memory (PCM) are based on Tellurium.
- Metallurgical Applications: Tellurium is added to lead to improve its strength and durability, and to decrease the corrosiveness of acids. When added to stainless steel and copper, it improves the workability of these metals.
- Chalcogenide Glasses: Tellurium based materials are used in optics applications as lenses or fibers.
- Rubber Industry: Tellurium dioxide is used as an accelerator in rubber vulcanization.
- Polymer/Plastics Industry: Organic tellurides are used as initiators for living radical polymerization and electron-rich mono- and di-tellurides are used as antioxidants.
- Microbiology: Tellurium based chemicals are used in the identification of pathogens.
Common Applications of Selenium:
- Glass and Ceramics: Selenium is used extensively in glass and ceramic manufacturing, where it is used to impart red-bronze color to glasses, enamels and glazes as well as to remove color from glass by counteracting the green tint imparted by ferrous impurities.
- Catalysts: Selenium is a catalyst in many chemical reactions and is widely used in various industrial and laboratory syntheses, particularly organoselenium chemistry. It is also widely used in structure determination of proteins and nucleic acids by X-ray crystallography.
- Metallurgical Applications: Selenium is used with bismuth in brasses to reduce the toxicity of lead.
- Rubber Industry: Selenium can improve the abrasion resistance (wear properties) of vulcanized rubber.
- Electronics: due to its photoconductive properties, Selenium is used in photocopying, photocells, x-ray imaging, light meters and photovoltaic solar cells.
- Photography: Selenium is used as a toner in photographic prints.
- Biological Applications:
- Medical use: Selenium disulfide is used as an active ingredient in some dandruff shampoos, and in body lotions as an anti-fungal aid.
- Nutrition: Selenium is used widely in multi-vitamins and dietary supplements (typically 50 to 200 micrograms per day for adult humans). The role of Selenium in preventing various types of cancer is being widely studied and reported; Selenium is also being studied as a key additive in anti-HIV drugs.
- Livestock feeds: Selenium is used in carefully prescribed quantities to improve the nutritional value of animal feeds.
- Cosmetics: an evolving application for Selenium includes orthodontic materials with improved antibacterial properties.
- Coatings: Selenium is used as an antimicrobial/antifouling additive in industrial, architectural and marine coatings and sealants.