Magnesium borate hydroxide (MBH) nanowhiskers were synthesized using a one step hydrothermal process with different surfactants. The effect surfactants have on the structure and morphology of the MBH nanowhiskers has been investigated. The X-ray diffraction profile confirms that the as-synthesized material is of single phase, monoclinic MgBO2(OH). The variations in the size and shape of the different MBH nanowhiskers have been discussed based on the surface morphology analysis. The annealing of MBH nanowhiskers at 500 °C for 4 h has significant effect on the crystal structure and surface morphology. The UV–vis absorption spectra of the MBH nanowhiskers synthesized with and without surfactants show enhanced absorption in the low-wavelength region, and their optical band gaps were estimated from the optical band edge plots. The photoluminescence spectra of the MBH nanowhiskers produced with and without surfactants show broad emission band with the peak maximum at around 400 nm, which confirms the dominant contribution from the surface defect states
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