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rubidium oxide (also known as dirubidium oxide) is a white solid that is composed of two rubidium cations and one oxygen ion. The compound is an inorganic compound and can be obtained by reacting metallic rubidium with water or oxygen gas. This reaction can be carried out in a sealed tube at high temperatures. The compound is also produced by ion exchange of the element with ammonium or hydronium ions.
The compound has a very high melting point of 630degC. It is a very stable material with a low thermal expansion coefficient. It is often used in the form of a glass tube in spectroscopy, as it exhibits excellent light-gathering characteristics. The crystal structure of rubidium oxide is a tetrahedron, and it has low lattice energy. The chemical composition of the compound varies with the isotopic fraction of the element, with 85Rb and 87Rb being the most common isotopes.
This compound is toxic to humans and can cause burns upon contact with the skin or eyes. It must be kept away from moisture and other oxidizing agents. Laboratory experiments on this compound must be conducted with protective clothing, gloves, and eye-face protection made from alkali-resistant materials. The compound must be diluted with water before use to prevent accidental leakage of the strong alkali.
The element rubidium is a soft, ductile metal with a silvery-white color and density higher than that of water. It is radioactive and has 24 isotopes. The isotopes have a similar atomic mass and chemical properties, with the most commonly occurring isotopes being 85Rb and 87Rb. It is also possible to produce rubidium iodide by exposing the metal to air.