lanthanide contraction


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lanthanide contraction

[′lan·thə‚nīd kən‚trak·shən]
(atomic physics)
A phenomenon encountered in the rare-earth elements; the radii of the atoms of the members of the series decrease slightly as the atomic numbers increase; starting with element 58 in the periodic table, the balancing electron fills in an inner incomplete 4ƒ shell as the charge on the nucleus increases.
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The progressive reduction in size of the lanthanide, which is known as the "lanthanide contraction", allows us to systematically study the trend of crystal chemistry, solid solution formation, and phase equilibria in the system BaO-[R.sub.2][O.sub.3]-[CuO.sub.x] as a function of the size of lanthanide ion, [R.sup.3+].