, 17:653 | Cite as

Assessing surface chemistry and pore structure of active carbons by a combination of physisorption (H2O, Ar, N2, CO2), XPS and TPD-MS

  • M. ThommesEmail author
  • C. Morlay
  • R. Ahmad
  • J. P. Joly


In order to address open questions concerning the surface chemistry and pore structure characterization of nanoporous carbons, we performed extensive experiments by combining various experimental techniques on a series of commercially available activated carbons which exhibit diverse surface chemistry characteristics. Pore size analysis was performed on Ar (87 K), N2 (77 K) and CO2 (273 K) adsorption isotherms using state-of-the art methods based on density functional theory, including the recently developed quenched solid density functional theory (QSDFT). A detailed study of the surface chemistry was obtained by applying temperature programmed desorption coupled with mass spectrometry (TPD-MS) as well as XPS (X-Ray-Photoelectron Scattering). This information together with the pore structure information leads to a reliable interpretation of systematic water adsorption measurements obtained on these materials. Our results clearly suggest that water adsorption is indeed a sensitive tool for detecting differences in surface chemistry between chemically and physically activated active carbon materials with comparable ultramicropore structure. The occurrence of sorption hysteresis associated with the filling of micro- and narrow mesopores (in a range where nitrogen and argon isotherms are reversible) provides additional structural information, complementary to the insights from argon/nitrogen/carbon dioxide adsorption.


Activated carbon Pore size analysis Water adsorption Carbon dioxide adsorption Nitrogen adsorption Quenched solid density functional theory (QSDFT) TPD-MS XPS Surface chemistry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantachrome InstrumentsBoynton BeachUSA
  2. 2.Département de Chimie et BiochimieUniversité de Lyon, CNRSVilleurbanne CedexFrance

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