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Rubidium is frequently found in the ocean, in natural spring waters, and in rocks, such as granite. As the melting point of rubidium is low, you may discover this soft, silvery-white metal in liquid form on a very hot day.
Rubidium is believed to stimulate animal metabolism as a result of its chemical similarity to potassium. This resemblance enables researchers at the National Research Council Canada (NRC) to use rubidium-87 in cardiac studies. Regional ischemia is a condition whereby blood flow is obstructed through the major coronary arteries. This obstruction can lead to the malfunctioning of potassium channels within the heart, which in turn, can cause failure in heart muscle function and changes in the body's metabolism. Rubidium is ideal for monitoring ischemia because of its similarity to potassium and its high sensitivity to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging. Ischemic areas have a drastically reduced concentration of the injected rubidium-87 isotope.
Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight to electricity. Today, rubidium is used in these "photocells" that potentially could be used to reduce the combustion of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.