Adsorption is the process when a molecule, or ion, called adsorbate present in a gaseous or liquid bulk sticks on the surface of a solid, rarely a liquid, called adsorbent. It is a surface process, that is, only the surface of the adsorbent is involved, and adsorbate does not diffuse into the structure of the adsorbent (in this case indeed the process is called absorption). The reverse process, that is, the drop of a molecule from a solid surface, is called desorption.

This process occurs naturally in the environment; it has also many industrial applications (e.g., to fractionate air mixture or to depurate gas or liquid emissions). It can trigger other important processes such as enzymatic reactions or ion exchange.

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