Germanium er det 32. grundstof i det periodiske system og det er et forholdsvis sjældent halvledermateriale som bl.a. bruges i (militær) elektronik til optiske fibre og infrarød optik i navigationsinstrumenter. Størstedelen af anvendelsen af Germanium finder sted via genbrug og produktion i Kina (70 procent), Rusland (4 procent), USA (2 procent), og i andre lande, herunder Australien, Canada, Finland, Indien og Spanien,


GAO: Electronic Waste: DOD is Recovering Materials, but Several Factors May Hinder Near-Term Expansion of These Efforts, 2016.
'In fiscal year 2016, DLA began to add germanium recovered from certain military electronics to the National Defense Stockpile. Germanium originates as a by-product of zinc mining and comes in a variety of forms, including germanium oxides, germanium metal, and germanium powder. According to DLA, high-purity germanium is manufactured into infrared lenses for most DOD night vision technology, thermal imaging systems, and infrared tracking systems in combat vehicles. These applications are used for tracking ground targets and heat-seeking missiles and conducting nighttime counterinsurgency operations.'
Germanium—Giving Microelectronics an Efficiency Boost
USGS Mineral Resources Program 72.58
Germanium. / : David E. Guberman.
U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2009.
Philip Seidenberg, "From Germanium to Silicon, A History of Change in the Technology of the Semiconductors," in Facets: New Perspectivies on the History of Semiconductors, ed. Andrew Goldstein & William Aspray (New Brunswick: IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 1997), 35-74.

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