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Pure germanium is a hard, lustrous, grey-white, brittle metalloid. It has a diamond like crystalline structure and it is similar in chemical and physical properties to silicon. Germanium is stable in air and water, and is unaffected by alkalis and acids, except nitric acid.
Germanium is an important semiconductor, mainly used in transistors and integrated circuits. They are often made from germanium to which small amounts of arsenic, gallium, or other metals. Germanium forms many compounds. Germanium oxide is added to glass to increase the index of refraction; such glass is used in wide-angle lenses and in infrared devices. Numerous alloys containing germanium have been prepared. High purity germanium single crystal detectors can precisely identify radiation sources (e.g. for airport security).