19 Germanium Tetrachloride Uses : Facts You Should Know!

Germanium tetrachloride is a chemical compound with the formula GeCl4. GeCl4 is a colorless liquid with an acidic odor. Let us discuss various uses of GeCl4 in this article.

The different uses of Germanium tetrachloride given below in list form are

  • Intermediate in the process of forming purified germanium dioxide and germanium metal.
  • Fiber optic production
  • Infrared
  • Semiconductor
  • Electronics
  • Alloying agent
  • Catalyst

Intermediate in the process of forming purified germanium dioxide and germanium metal

  • Germanium tetrachloride is used as an intermediate in the production of purified germanium dioxide and germanium metal. GeCl4 is obtained from sphalerite zinc ore and some copper ore is allowed to pass through chlorination and distillation process, which leads to the formation of germanium tetrachloride (GeCl4) which further gives germanium dioxide is formed (GeO2) and high-purity germanium metal.

Fiber optic production                                                      

  • Derivative of Germanium etrachloride, germanium dioxide (GeO2) has a high index of refraction and low optical dispersion so used as a camera lens, microscopy and for the core of a fiber optic lens. 
  • When silicon tetrachloride and Germanium tetrachloride are heated with oxygen in hollow glass, perform undergoes oxidation and leads to the formation of oxides and glass mixture. 
  • The index of refraction of optical fiber can be controlled by doing variation in the GeCl4.


  • Germanium tetrachloride has military uses. Germanium and germanium dioxide, which are glass oxide of germanium, are transparent to the infrared spectrum.
  • Infrared windows and lenses are manufactured from glass which is used for night- vision technology, especially in the military and luxury vehicles.
  • GeO2 is strong than other IR transparent glasses, so preferred over it for uses in the military.  


  • Germanium tetrachloride has important applications in industry as germanium has inherent semiconductor behavior, so used as a semiconductor in transistors.
  • Germanium tetrachloride gas has future growth potential and is used in thin film technologies such as SiGe chips, Ge-base semiconductors and many other electronic applications.


  • Ge- based LED, Ge as a replacement for Silicon on chips, and so many such implementations are done. 
  • Efforts are being made to replace GaAs with SiGe in wireless telecommunication. 
  • It is doped with other elements such as As, Sb, Ga, and P and is used in high-power and high-frequency electronics. 

Alloying agent

  • As years passed, germanium’s uses as a metal alloy increased. 
  • It combines with other metal to form an alloy and improve the metallurgy process, and increases property of different metals.
  • In sterling silver alloy, it reduces fire scale and increases the tarnish resistance, thus increasing response to precipitation hardening.
  • The alloy silicon germanide SiGe is a semiconductor and is used in high-speed integrated circuits. Circuits with Si-SiGe junction work faster than those Silicon alone.


  • Germanium tetrachloride is used as a catalyst in the converter of carbohydrates into 5- hydroxymethylfurfural in ionic liquid. 
  • In this conversion, germanium tetrachloride is used as a reducing agent, where it is used in combination with triphenylphosphate (TPP). 
  • Here reduction of alpha–bromine carboxylic acid takes place, giving pure germanium
Uses of germanium tetrachloride


Germanium tetrachloride consists of a germanium and four chlorine atom. Germanium tetrachloride has other names as Germanium (IV) chloride. It is soluble in water. Germanium tetrachloride melt at -49.50C and has a boiling point of 86.50C. Germanium tetrachloride is tetrahedral in shape.