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Process Chemistry

Domestic Manufacturer of Rare Earth Salts and Solutions

Anyone who relies on Rare Earth (RE) compounds is aware of the recent supply uncertainty and market risk associated with starting materials that have unfolded over the last 2 years. Emerging technology and increased concern of supply has dramatically impacted the cost and supply of quality RE materials.

GFS was not immune to these issues due to our historic reliance on starting materials procured from non-domestic sources. While we produce rare earth compounds internally, we did not have the necessary supply chain to emerge from the market pressure unscathed.

We did however see the line in the sand and realigned our RE production to allow vertical integration to develop within our processes to minimize the long term impact of such issues from occurring in the future. GFS spent 18+ months refining our technology and operations to allow us to work through numerous routes and starting materials sourced from domestic sources.

We are currently in the process of increasing our capacity and expanded our infrastructure to remain a proud domestic producer of RE compounds; including a supply chain that leads to domestic starting materials. We answered the call of our customers to do what we needed to do in order to provide a safe, competitive supply chain of these critical materials to critical and emerging technology.
GFS has been producing RE materials for decades, but many new and elegant applications have emerged since Professor Smith began his original developmental work. Examples of some of these once unimagined technologies include:
 Lasers and optical materials
The Rare Earths are unique in that while the trivalent ion is the most prevalent form, the highly oxidative tetravalent ion (i.e. Ce, Pr) as well as reductive divalent ion (i.e. Eu, Sm) are accessible. For this reason, exciting new uses for RE will continue to be discovered in the coming years.
GFS can routinely produce ton lots of reagents such as anhydrous cerous chloride, used in the synthesis of pharmaceutical intermediates, and other synthetic precursors.
Our extensive experience with all kinds of RE chemistries has made GFS the supplier of choice for many manufacturers of catalysts and industrial formulations.
The single most important cerate compound is ammonium hexanitratocerate, better known as ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN). An extremely versatile compound for application needs ranging from oxidation to catalysis to semiconductor etchants, it is available in numerous grades and purity profiles. The compound may be prepared of such quality as to be useful as a primary standard in oxidimetry. A comprehensive treatment of the preparation and analytical applications of cerate reagents is provided in GFS publication No. 204, Cerate Oxidimetry, by G. Frederick Smith.
 GFS Etchants
Solutions of ceric ammonium nitrate in dilute perchloric acid are widely used as etchants in the preparation of printed circuits, for preparation of metal samples, and for cleaning surfaces prior to fabrication by soldering. It is particularly useful for etching nichrome, monel, stainless steel, and many other ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. An etchant that does not contain perchloric acid is also available.
 Ceric Compounds as Analytical Reagents       
As a result of the pioneering research work of H. H. Willard, N. H. Furman, G. Frederick Smith, and many others, tetra-valent cerium compounds find ongoing use as standard solutions in volumetric analysis for the determination of a variety of inorganic and organic materials. These uses of cerium(IV) solutions as standard oxidizing agents have become so common that they are ubiquitous in the literature. General methods of preparing and using the solutions and their many specific applications can be found in any good elementary quantitative analysis text, as well as volumes of official methods of analysis and various reference works.
The reduction potential of the ceric ion varies with the nature and the concentration of the acid present in the solution in which it is prepared:
 Hydrochloric acid: Eo = 1.28 volts
 Sulfuric acid: Eo = 1.44 volts
 Nitric acid: Eo = 1.61 volts
 Perchloric acid: Eo = 1.71 volts
This variation in reduction potential results from the union of the cerium with the radicals of the acid to form complex anions, such as sulfatoceric acid, H4Ce(SO4)4, and the nitratoceric acid, H2Ce(NO3)6. The corresponding ammonium salts conform to the expected formulas, (NH4)4Ce(SO4)4 and (NH4)2Ce(NO3)6.
From the research standpoint, the most active phase of cerate oxidimetry is the quantitative and stoichiometric oxidation of organic compounds.

Rare Earth Specialties
A compilation of Rare Earth specialties would be as long as the chemical family is expansive. Some examples of ongoing GFS interest would include:
 Anhydrous or reduced-moisture rare earth salts
 Phenanthroline complexes used as electrofluorescence emitters
 Precursors for superconductor thin films
 Dopants for phosphors
 Precursors for fuel cell thin films
 Ferroelectric materials
 Reagents for organic synthesis

Several of the Rare Earth elements have the potential to exist in more than one oxidation state. Recent expansion of the GFS technical staff has included personnel with considerable experience in both high-valence and low-valence chemistries. For example, in addition to the potential for new Cerium(IV) product development, GFS has already pursued chemistries of Europium(II). Applications for materials in unusual oxidation states include batteries, dielectrics, energy storage, coatings and paints, fuel additives, and catalysts.
GFS drying technology is now available to facilitate the partial dehydration and packaging of most of the rare earth perchlorates, including yttrium. The GFS Dry Room features temperature and atmospheric control to a relative humidity <1% and a dew point below minus 45 dg C. Research quantities of selected reduced-moisture rare earth perchlorates are now available as described in the alphabetical section of this catalog. We also believe that GFS technologies can support opportunities requiring larger quantities of reduced-moisture Rare Earth perchlorates, protected by state-of-the-art bottling and overpacking operations. Let our technology work with your imagination.
For more reference information and insights into various Rare Earth chemistries, contact us.

For more information, contact Robert Kramer at

(614) 224-5345 ext. 360

Manufacturing in Columbus, Ohio Since 1928