Element 52 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series is tellurium. This element is found in some types of solar cells, DVD and Blu-Ray discs, and photocopiers.
DVDs and Blu-Ray discs have a coating of tellurium suboxide as part of their recording layer. The discs are originally written to by a laser beam which creates pits in the tellurium layer to record data.
Selenium-tellurium alloys are used in some photocopiers, and help to improve picture quality. In many cases, they’ve now been superseded by organic photoconductors.