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Isolation Here is a brief summary of the isolation of europium Europium metal is available commercially so it is not normally necessary to make it in the laboratory which is just as well as it is difficult to separate it from as the pure metal This is largely because of the way it is found in nature The lanthanoids are found in nature in a number of minerals The most important are xenotime monazite and bastnaesite The first two are orthophosphate minerals LnPO4 Ln deonotes a mixture of all the lanthanoids except promethium which is vanishingly rare and the third is a fluoride carbonate LnCO3F Lanthanoids with even atomic numbers are more common The most comon lanthanoids in these minerals are in order cerium lanthanum neodymium and praseodymium Monazite also contains thorium and ytrrium which makes handling difficult since thorium and its decomposition products are radioactive For many purposes it is not particularly necessary to separate the metals but if separation into individual metals is required the process is complex Initially the metals are extracted as salts from the ores by extraction with sulphuric acid H2SO4 hydrochloric acid HCl and sodium hydroxide NaOH Modern purification techniques for these lanthanoid salt mixtures are ingenious and involve selective complexation techniques solvent extractions and ion exchange chromatography Pure europium is available through the electrolysis of a mixture of molten EuCl3 and NaCl or CaCl2 in a graphite cell which acts as cathode using graphite as anode The other product is chlorine gas
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