Infrared spectroscopy has been used to make the first experimental discrimination between molecules bound by physisorption on the exterior surface of carbon single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) and molecules bound in the interior. In addition, the selective displacement of the internally bound molecules has been observed as a second adsorbate is added. SWNTs were opened by oxidative treatment with O(3) at room temperature, followed by heating in a vacuum to 873 K. It was found that, at 133 K and 0.033 Torr, CF(4) adsorbs on closed SWNTs, exhibiting its nu(3) asymmetric stretching mode at 1267 cm(-1) (red shift relative to the gas phase, 15 cm(-1)). Adsorption on the nanotube exterior is accompanied by adsorption in the interior in the case of opened SWNTs. Internally bound CF(4) exhibits its nu(3) mode at 1247 cm(-1) (red shift relative to the gas phase, 35 cm(-1)). It was shown that, at 133 K, Xe preferentially displaces internally bound CF(4) species, and this counterintuitive observation was confirmed by molecular simulations. The confinement of CF(4) inside (10,10) single-walled carbon nanotubes does not result in the production of lattice modes that are observed in large 3D ensembles of CF(4).