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The zero length column technique has been developed over the past 30 years as a versatile experimental method to measure adsorption equilibrium and kinetics. In this review we discuss in detail the theory that forms the basis for the technique in order to understand how to design and operate efficiently a system. Experimental checks that should be performed to ensure the correct interpretation of the dynamic response are presented and examples are used to identify how to avoid major errors in determining diffusion time constants. The review concludes with an overview of all experimental studies available in the literature to date and a set of recommendations that should help improve the standard in the reported equilibrium and kinetic properties.