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Characterization techniques for morphological and physicochemical evaluation of nanomaterials [Book Chapter]

Distinct physicochemical properties observed in nanomaterials (NM) have attracted enormous technological and scientific interest as it enables innovative functional applications. These functional properties of NM are interdependent on their size, shape, crystal structure, chemical composition, oxidation states, surface composition, and atomic defects, etc. Hence, a comprehensive understanding of NM composition–structure–property relationships using appropriate characterization techniques is of the utmost importance for the rational design of NM, and to fine-tune its functional properties. Therefore, the selection of the right probing mechanism to study its functional properties will provide informed decisions to select, and optimize appropriate synthesis approaches as per the application demand. Hence, the main objective of this chapter is to summarize different state-of-the-art characterization techniques based on the information they can provide, and the complementarity of the information supplied by various methods. Furthermore, the fundamental probing mechanism of different characterization tools, their strengths, and weaknesses are discussed. Thus, it will serve as a guide for the selection of appropriate characterization techniques for structural, compositional, and physicochemical characterization of NM.