In addition to the major uses of cadmium there are a wide variety of uses which consume only small amounts of cadmium. These minor uses, however, often have considerable technological and social importance.
Cadmium sulphide photoconductive cells are used in photographic exposure meters for cameras where the CdS cell acts as a light-sensitive variable resistor. The CdS cell is also used as a highly sensitive photo-receptor in electrophotographic systems in photocopiers. Other cadmium compounds are used to improve the stability of developed photographic images and so help preserve them during long-term storage.
Cadmium compounds, such as cadmium sulphide, cadmium tungstate, cadmium borate and cadmium silicate, are essential in the preparation of light-emitting phosphors that are activated by electron beams. These phosphors have long lifetimes and high reliability and are useful in applications such as colour displays, x-ray instruments, luminescent dials and fluorescent lamps. Phosphors based upon cadmium/zinc sulphide are used in cathode ray tubes.
Thin-film transistors based on cadmium selenide have been developed for switching applications in matrix and alphanumeric displays, quantum dots for LED displays and biological imaging in health care.
Cadmium salts of organic acids are used as catalysts in the production of a wide variety of organic materials.
Silver-indium-cadmium alloys are used in control rods for some pressurised water reactors in nuclear power generation. These rods absorb free neutrons and so control the process. In other nuclear engineering applications, cadmium metal sheet is used for shielding by similar neutron absorption.
The International Cadmium Association (ICdA) is a non-profit association representing the interests of the world’s cadmium industry. Its Members include producers, processors, recyclers and consumers of cadmium metal, cadmium compounds, and products to which cadmium or its compounds have intentionally been added.
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