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Alternatives Sought for Rare-Earth Materials

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2011
In response to the shortage of rare-earth metals used for polishing in the optics industry, high-tech industry association Spectaris has developed a “Rare Earth” industrial consortium project to seek out possible alternatives. Export restrictions by key suppliers in China, as well as an increased demand by the electronics industry, have made it difficult to purchase the expensive and dwindling supply of cerium oxide. To overcome this obstacle, the consortium has begun testing alternative substance polishing agents such as aluminum and zirconium oxide, which are already partly used in polishing agents.


GLOSSARY
cerium oxide
A polishing material that has a quicker polishing action than rouge (ferric oxide) and that is cleaner to handle.
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