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A convenient alternative to using liquid argon or expensive cryostats for IUPAC- recommended gas sorption analyses

The cryoTune is a compact and cost effective cryostatic accessory designed to provide precise temperature control (±0.004 K) at temperatures in the range 83 – 135 K. The cryoTune is ideally suited to enable 3P micro 300 and other physisorption analyzers to generate fast and IUPAC-recommended micropore analyses using argon (Ar) gas at 87 K and liquid nitrogen as the cryogen.


With this compact and deceptively simple accessory, modern gas sorption analyzers can be used to generate isotherms:

  • at an essentially constant temperature (± 0.004 K);
  • within a wide target temperature range (83 – 135 K); and
  • easy-to-use software for data acquisition, display, analysis and archiving.

It is now well established (see the latest IUPAC recommendations /1/) that argon molecules provide distinct advantages over nitrogen molecules for gas sorption analyses, including the following:

  • unlike nitrogen, argon has no quadrupole moment. Thus, using argon as adsorbate eliminates specific chemical interactions with polar/ionic surface sites
  • as a result, argon physisorption isotherms provide much more reliable fingerprints of the interactions modeled by today’s most advanced techniques for pore size characterization; and
  • Argon sorption analyses at its boiling point (87 K) can be significantly faster than conventional N2/77 K experiments, because the filling of similar pores can occur much more readily at much higher relative pressures

There has been a long-felt need in the art for the means to enable Ar @87 K experiments without having to resort to using compressor-based cryostats (which can be very expensive) or liquid argon cryogen (which can also be relatively expensive or even unavailable in some regions). The cryoTune fills this need by providing a compact accessory which is easily adaptable to modern gas sorption analyzers. With the cryoTune users can easily perform IUPAC-recommended argon sorption analyses at 87.3K using liquid nitrogen (instead of liquid argon) as the cryogen.

Literature and Norms

/1/ IUPAC recommendation: M. Thommes, K. Kaneko, A.V. Neimark, J.P. Olivier, F. Rodriguez Reinoso, J. Rouquerol and K.S.W Sing, Pure Appl. Chem. 87 (9-10), 1051-1069 (2015); pdf-Download

/2/ D. Klank, PARTICLE WORLD 19, “Why do we measure surfaces and pores with argon and krypton gas adsorption much more often in future?” p. 26 – 29

/3/ ISO 9277:2010: Determination of the specific surface area of solids by gas adsorption – BET method

/4/ Fröba et al., Partikelwelt 17, “Die Charakterisierung von porösen Hybrid- und Funktionsmaterialien im Rahmen der „Energieproblematik”” p. 17 ff. [available only in German]

/5/ D. Klank, C. Reichenbach, Chem. Ing. Tech., 201991 (7), 934 – 935, [available only in German]

/6/ D. Klank, C. Reichenbach, C. Lüttmann, Laborpraxis, August 2019, 30 – 32, [available only in German]

Suitable Gas Adsorption Analyzers:

3P meso 112 1 Station Analyzer
3P meso 222 2 Station Analyzer
3P meso 400 4 Station Analyzer
3P micro 100 1 Station Analyzer
3P micro 200 2 Station Analyzer
3P micro 300 3 Station Analyzer


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