Mesoporous cubic MCM-48 was synthesized at a lower concentration of the surfactant. XRD, N 2 adsorption and electron microscopic studies confirmed the formation of cubic phase. Spectroscopic and electron spin resonance techniques confirmed the presence of heteroatom within the framework. The catalytic activities of various acid catalysts have been examined for vapour phase alkylation of naphthalene with alcohols and these studies revealed that aluminium substituted cubic MCM-48 was more active compared to Fe-MCM-48, Al-MCM-41 and H-Y zeolite. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.