Abstract Laser-induced thermal desorption (LITD) has been used to determine the desorption energy of CO and H 2 on Inconel 600 surfaces. Isothermal curves have been measured between 300 K and 450 K., which give a value of 71 kJ mol for H 2/Inconel 600. In the case of the CO adsorption a rapidly growing chromium oxide layer at the surface due to the laser shots was found by monitoring the surface composition changes in between by Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). From experimental recoverage times and equilibrium coverages, values ranging between 92 and 82 kJ mol were derived for the desorption energy of CO/Inconel 600. The variation of the desorption energy is correlated with the oxidation degree of the Inconel surface.