Discovered in the fifteenth century, although its discoverer is not known. Bismuth is a brittle metal which is silvery in colour with a pink tinge. It is stable in air and water. It has poor thermal and electrical properties and finds applications in the manufacture of fusible alloys, a range of materials with low melting points which are suitable for various applications including solders and thermal fuses. Pure bismuth shows a high absorbtion of gamma rays which makes it useful as a filter or window for these particles, whilst at the same time permitting the passage of neutrons.
A material grown as a monocrystal, generally to a specific orientation, dimension and surface finish. It may contain a dopant. Single crystals are usually made to order.