Niobium (Nb) is a silvery metal similar to tantalum. It has excellent mechanical properties at elevated temperatures and superconducting properties. Niobium is used in a wide variety of applications and is an important alloying element in superalloys and specific types of steel. It is used in superconducting magnets in scientific and medical equipment. When applied in a thin layer on optics and glass, it imparts both anti-reflective and scratch-resistant properties.