Rutile-structured nanocrystalline tin dioxide (SnO2) powder was synthesized by the chemical precipitation method using the precursor SnCl2• 5H2O. The SnO2 powder was annealed at different temperatures, namely, 600, 800 and 1000 °C. Micro-Raman spectra were recorded for both the as-grown and annealed SnO2 nanocrystalline samples. Micro-Raman spectral measurements on the SnO2 nanoparticle show the first-order Raman modes A1g (633 cm−1), E1g (475 cm−1) and B2g (775 cm−1), indicating that the grown SnO2 belongs to the rutile structure. The first-order A1g mode is observed as an intense band, whereas the other two modes show low intensity. The full width at half-maximum and band area of the Raman lines of SnO2 nanoparticle annealed at various temperatures were calculated. The effect of high-temperature annealing on the vibrational modes of SnO2 was studied. The optical image of SnO2 nanocrystalline material was used to understand the surface morphology effect. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.