Ordered mesoporous carbons (OMC) were produced by pyrolysis of hydrocarbons adsorbed in two different silica matrices (MCM-48 and SBA-15), followed by dissolution of the matrix in either hydrofluoric acid or sodium hydroxide. Some carbons were subsequently heat treated at temperatures of up to 1600 degreesC. The chemistry of the external surface was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and static secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). Information on the graphitic order of the surface of the mesopores was obtained from low-pressure nitrogen adsorption data. The external and internal surface of the OMC has a polyaromatic, graphite-like character. This character increases considerably with increasing pyrolysis and/or post-pyrolysis temperature, as expected. According to the XPS and the nitrogen adsorption data, this increase was especially pronounced for temperatures above 1100 degreesC. In spite of the different pore structures, only small differences in the polyaromatic character were found for OMC synthesised either in a MCM-48 or in a SBA-15 matrix. Differences exist for the non-carbon elements. When hydrofluoric acid is used for dissolution of the silica matrix, organic fluorine compounds are formed. Their concentration is higher when a MCM-48 matrix as opposed to a SBA-15 matrix was used. Dissolution of the silica matrix in sodium hydroxide yielded a less contaminated OMC as compared to dissolution in hydrofluoric acid. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.