Rubidium is a highly reactive, silvery-white metal. It is a chemical element that is represented by the atomic number 37 and the chemical symbol Rb. This metal was discovered in 1861 by German chemists. Naturally occurring rubidium is a relatively common element in the crust of the Earth. Most commercial rubidium is extracted from lepidolite, which is a mineral that contains about 0.3-3.5% of the element. Rubidium has few commercial applications, but the following are the most common applications of element.
Uses of rubidium
Rubidium is used to make inexpensive rubidium atomic clocks. These atomic clocks are used for a variety of purposes such as in global navigation systems (GPS and GLONASS) and within the telecommunication industry (cell phone base stations and television stations).
It is also used in laser cooling, which is used to cool molecular and atomic samples.
Rubidium salts are used to make certain types of glassware and ceramic products.
Rubidium is also used to remove trace gasses in vacuum tubes.
An isotope of rubidium, Rb82, is used in specific types of medical imaging. This isotope is commonly used to detect brain tumors and to improve medical imaging of the heart in overweight patients.
The metal is also used in the manufacture of photocells and to provide the purple color in fireworks.
Did you know?
It has been discovered that in patients undergoing kidney dialysis that show signs of depression have a low level of rubidium. Clinical studies into the effects of rubidium on depression in kidney dialysis patients have been conducted.