Rare earths are crucial to the manufacture of many hi-tech products. Despite their name, most are abundant in nature but are hazardous to extract. Most "rare earth" elements have a usage in several different fields.
This is used to make powerful magnets used in loudspeakers and computer hard drives to be smaller and more efficient. Magnets containing neodymium are also used in green technologies such as the manufacture of wind turbines and hybrid cars.
This element is used in camera and telescope lenses. Compounds containing lanthanum are used extensively in carbon lighting applications, such as studio lighting and cinema projection.
Used in catalytic converters in cars, enabling them to run at high temperatures and play a crucial role in the converter's chemical reactions. Lanthanum and cerium are also used in the process of refining crude oil.
Yttrium is used in the process of generating color displays on devices such as television screens.
Used to create strong metals for use in aircraft engines. Praseodymium is also a particular sort of glass component used to make visors to protect welders and glassmakers.
Used in X-ray and MRI scanning systems, and also in television screens. Research is also being done into its possible use in developing more efficient refrigeration systems.
It is essential in making televisions and computer screens, and other devices that have visual displays as they are used to make materials that give off different colors. Europium is also used in making control rods in nuclear reactors.