Highly transparent polycrystalline thin film of SnO2 (tin dioxide) was deposited using a simple and low cost spray pyrolysis method. The film was prepared from an aqueous solution of tin tetrachloride (stannic chloride) onto glass substrates at 400 degrees C. A range of diagnostic techniques including X-ray diffraction (XRD), UV-visible absorption, atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and synchrotron-based X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to investigate structural, optical, and electronic properties of the resulting film. Deposited film was found to be polycrystalline. A mixture of SnO and SnO2 phases was observed. The average crystallite size of similar to 21.3 nm for SnO2 was calculated by Rietveld method using XRD data. The oxidation states of the SnO2 thin film were confirmed by the shape analysis of corresponding XPS O 1s, Sn 3d, and Sn 4d peaks using the decomposition procedure. The analysis of the XPS core level peaks showed that the chemical component is non-stoichiometric and the ratio of oxygen to tin (O/Sn) is 1.85 which is slightly under stoichiometry. (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.