• acidity;
  • ammonia;
  • density functional calculations;
  • temperature-programmed desorption;
  • zeolites


In this review, a method for the temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) of ammonia experiment for the characterization of zeolite acidity and its improvement by simultaneous IR measurement and DFT calculation are described. First, various methods of ammonia TPD are explained, since the measurements have been conducted under the concepts of kinetics, equilibrium, or diffusion control. It is however emphasized that the ubiquitous TPD experiment is governed by the equilibrium between ammonia molecules in the gas phase and on the surface. Therefore, a method to measure quantitatively the strength of the acid site (∆H upon ammonia desorption) under equilibrium-controlled conditions is elucidated. Then, a quantitative relationship between ∆H and H0 function is proposed, based on which the acid strength ∆H can be converted into the H0 function. The identification of the desorption peaks and the quantitative measurement of the number of acid sites are then explained. In order to overcome a serious disadvantage of the method (i.e., no information is provided about the structure of acid sites), the simultaneous measurement of IR spectroscopy with ammonia TPD, named IRMS-TPD (infrared spectroscopy/mass spectrometry–temperature-programmed desorption), is proposed. Based on this improved measurement, Brønsted and Lewis acid sites were differentiated and the distribution of Brønsted OH was revealed. The acidity characterized by IRMS-TPD was further supported by the theoretical DFT calculation. Thus, the advanced study of zeolite acidity at the molecular level was made possible. Advantages and disadvantages of the ammonia TPD experiment are discussed, and understanding of the catalytic cracking activity based on the derived acidic profile is explained.