66Dy Dysprosium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Paul Lecoq de Boisbaudran of France

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named from the Greek word meaning “hard to obtain”, dysprosium is a very soft silver metal, and can be cut with a knife. It is stable in air, but is reactive with water and acids. Dysprosium is used in certain magnet alloys, CD disks and lasers. Dysprosium absorbs neutrons, so it has potential for use as control rods in nuclear reactors. It also is used in alloys, especially with stainless steel.

Biological Benefits

Dysprosium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits for life processes in plants and animals.


Dysprosium is chiefly obtained from bastnasite and monazite, where it occurs as an impurity. Other dysprosium-bearing minerals include euxenite, fergusonite, gadolinite and polycrase. It is mined in the USA, China Russia, Australia, and India.