Cause of lanthanide contraction
The lanthanide contraction is due to the imperfect shielding of one 4f electron by another in the same sub shell. As we move along the lanthanide series, the nuclear charge and the number of 4f electrons increase by one unit at each step. The Lanthanide Contraction applies to all 14 elements included in the Lanthanide series. This series includes Cerium(Ce), Praseodymium(Pr), Neodymium(Nd), Promethium(Pm), Samarium(Sm), Europium(Eu), Gadolinium(Gd), Terbium(Tb), Dysprosium(Dy), Holmium(Ho), Erbium(Er), Thulium(Tm), Ytterbium(Yb), and Lutetium(Lu).
However, due to imperfect shielding, the effective nuclear charge increases causing a contraction in electron cloud of 4f-subshell.