CdS clusters are formed in the pores of a mesoporous zeolite in which the size of the clusters may be adjusted. The size of the clusters increases as the CdS loading is increased. X-ray diffraction investigation shows that the lattice constants of the clusters contract upon increasing size. This contraction is attributed to an increase of the static pressure exercised by the zeolite framework as the clusters grow bigger. Both the excitonic and trapped emission bands are detected and become more intensive upon decreasing size. Three absorption bands appear in the photoluminescence excitation (PLE) spectra and they shift to the blue as cluster size decreases. Based on the effective-mass approximation, the three bands are assigned to the 1S-1S, 1S-1P and 1S-1D transitions, respectively. The size-dependence of the PLE spectra can also be explained. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.