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V. Balaram. Rare earth elements:A review of applications, occurrence, exploration, analysis, recycling, and environmental impact[J]. Geoscience Frontiers, 2019, 10(4): 1285-1303. doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2018.12.005
Citation: V. Balaram. Rare earth elements:A review of applications, occurrence, exploration, analysis, recycling, and environmental impact[J]. Geoscience Frontiers, 2019, 10(4): 1285-1303. doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2018.12.005

Rare earth elements:A review of applications, occurrence, exploration, analysis, recycling, and environmental impact

doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2018.12.005
  • Received Date: 2018-02-07
  • Rev Recd Date: 2018-10-17
  • Rare earth elements (REE) include the lanthanide series elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and Lu) plus Sc and Y. Currently these metals have become very critical to several modern technologies ranging from cell phones and televisions to LED light bulbs and wind turbines. This article summarizes the occurrence of these metals in the Earth's crust, their mineralogy, different types of deposits both on land and oceans from the standpoint of the new data with more examples from the Indian subcontinent. In addition to their utility to understand the formation of the major Earth reservoirs, multi-faceted updates on the applications of REE in agriculture and medicine including new emerging ones are presented. Environmental hazards including human health issues due to REE mining and large-scale dumping of e-waste containing significant concentrations of REE are summarized. New strategies for the future supply of REE including recent developments in the extraction of REE from coal fired ash and recycling from e-waste are presented. Recent developments in individual REE separation technologies in both metallurgical and recycling operations have been highlighted. An outline of the analytical methods for their precise and accurate determinations required in all these studies, such as, Xray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), glow discharge mass spectrometry (GD-MS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (including ICP-MS, ICP-TOF-MS, HR-ICP-MS with laser ablation as well as solution nebulization) and other instrumental techniques, in different types of materials are presented.
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