This study compares the properties of γ-alumina, silica, and titania using ESCA and <i>in situ</i> FT-IR. The FWHM's of the O1s and metal 2p ESCA peaks increased systematically from titania to γ-alumina; the O1s/metal 2p ESCA peak area ratios were nearly equal for γ-alumina and silica. For titania, however, the value was half that obtained for γ-alumina. <i>In situ</i> FT-IR showed hydroxyl bands with increasing frequencies from titania to silica. Alumina and titania form carbonate-type structures after exposure to CO at elevated temperatures. Silica exhibited no additional bands after CO treatment that could be assigned to physically adsorbed CO or carbonate-type structures. At 100°C, there is a direct correlation between the specific surface area and the intensity of infrared absorbance of the free-hydroxyl and the hydrogen-bonded hydroxyl bands for silica. The intensities of the infrared bands due to matrix modes were not affected by surface area.

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