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Alkarb contained 21% rubidium, with the rest being potassium and a small amount of caesium.

Rubidium was discovered in 1861 by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff, in Heidelberg, Germany, in the mineral lepidolite through flame spectroscopy.

They tried to generate elemental rubidium by electrolysis of molten rubidium chloride, but instead of a metal, they obtained a blue homogeneous substance, which "neither under the naked eye nor under the microscope showed the slightest trace of metallic substance".

They presumed that it was a subchloride ( In a second attempt to produce metallic rubidium, Bunsen was able to reduce rubidium by heating charred rubidium tartrate.

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However, rubidium ions have the same charge as potassium ions and are actively taken up and treated by animal cells in similar ways.

German chemists Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff discovered rubidium in 1861 by the newly developed technique, flame spectroscopy.

The name comes from the Latin word rubidus, meaning deep red, the color of its emission spectrum.

Zone pegmatite ore bodies containing mineable quantities of caesium as pollucite or the lithium minerals lepidolite are also a source for rubidium as a by-product.

Both of those deposits are also sources of caesium.

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