The element osmium (Os) is one of the rarest raw materials in the earth's crust and is classified as a platinum metal due to its chemical properties. Osmium is derived from the Greek word "osme", which means smell or scent. In its pure form it has a shimmering blue-gray or blue-black appearance. Osmium is also one of the hardest and densest metals in the world. These properties make it ideal for applications that require resistance. Furthermore, the various osmium compounds have excellent catalytic properties.

How can I purchase osmium products from Heraeus?

Heraeus offers osmium compounds as solids and solutions in small quantities for research projects as well as in large quantities for industrial applications. Due to our decades of experience in the extraction and processing of osmium, we can guarantee a high and consistent quality of our products.

Heraeus offers the following osmium products:

Compound CAS Number Formula Metal ­cont. ­approx. Product Shop
Ammonium hexachloroosmate(IV) 12125-08-5 (NH4)2[OsCl6] 43 % online available
Osmium(III) chloride hydrate 14996-60-2 OsCl3 · n H2O 55 % online available
Osmium(VIII) oxide - solid "Osmium tetroxide"
20816-12-0 OsO4 75 % online available
Osmium(VIII) oxide - solution
"Osmium tetroxide"
20816-12-0 OsO4 up to 3 % send inquiry
Potassium tetrahydroxodioxoosmate(VI) “Potassium Osmate”
K2[Os(O)2(OH)4] 52 % online available
Sodium hexachloroosmate(IV) hydrate 1307-81-9
Na2[OsCl6] · n H2O 39 % online available

If you are interested in one of our osmium products, please contact us directly via our Sales Manager.

If your desired product is not listed, please contact us as well.

Osmium Compounds
Our Osmium Compounds

Where are the osmium deposits located? How is osmium extracted?

The data of the worldwide osmium production varies between 150 kilograms and one ton. Main deposits of osmium are located in Russia, Canada and South Africa. In most cases, osmium is extracted either during the mining of platinum ores or as a by-product of nickel processing. Although osmium can naturally occur in solid (pure) form, for industrial purposes osmium has to be extracted from ore concentrates through very complex processes.

Description of osmium extraction from the raw material (ore concentrates)

Ore concentrates from precious metal mines contain, in addition to gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and ruthenium, a small amount of the precious metal osmium. To separate osmium from the other precious metals, Heraeus uses various pyrometallurgical and wet chemical processes. In the first step, osmium can be separated from the other precious metals together with ruthenium using an oxidizing molten salt with a downstream water extraction. After various precipitation and dissolution processes, the osmium is finally separated from the ruthenium as volatile osmium tetroxide by distillation with hydrogen peroxide and can then be precipitated in high purity as ammonium or potassium salt. The final step is a hydrogen reduction to metallic osmium. This now serves as a starting point for the production of new osmium alloys and compounds.

Chemical and industrial application of the different osmium compounds

In general, the chemical industry uses various osmium compounds as catalysts for dihydroxylation processes, especially
osmium tetroxide , potassium osmate (VI) dihydrate and ammonium hexachloroosmate (IV). The toxic osmium tetroxide is used as a contrast medium in electron microscopy. Platinum-osmium or osmium-iridium alloys are used in medical implants such as artificial heart valves or pacemakers. A relatively new medical application is the use of osmium-based compounds for anticancer agents. In general, osmium is not preferred over other metals in industrial applications because of its price, unless durability and hardness are critical. Thus, osmium or osmium alloys are often used in abrasive and abrasive applications such as writing tips in pens, phonographic scanning needles, pins and shafts in instrument manufacturing.

Osmium is also becoming increasingly popular in the jewelry industry. Finely dispersed osmium forms traces of toxic osmium tetroxide even at room temperature. In order for osmium to be processed as jewelry, osmium must be crystallized in many complex steps, so that safe handling of the osmium is possible. Crystalline osmium has a purity of 99.9995 % and in this form is completely harmless to the body and skin.

Further catalysts of the platinum group

In addition to our osmium compounds, Heraeus offers a large number of other catalytic compounds of the platinum group, including homogeneous catalysts, heterogeneous catalysts, emission catalysts and our catalyst networks. We would be pleased to advise you individually in order to filter out the most suitable product for your application. Just contact us if you need further information or take a closer look at our products on our website.