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A series of ceria nanoparticles were synthesized by using a microemulsion method. The effect of relative concentration of surfactant/water on the size and the surface roughness of ceria nanoparticles was examined using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) respectively. The investigation confirmed a relationship between the size and the roughness properties of the nanoceria as a function of the water to surfactant ratio. With increasing dilution of the surfactant, the size distribution became narrow such that average particle size decreased linearly as the ratio increased without affecting lower size threshold of particles (similar to 10 nm). The surface roughness, on the other hand was found to increase with increasing water to surfactant ratio implying diluted surfactant would provide rougher surface of ceria nanoparticles. The information can be used to tailor the adhesion properties of nanoceria by optimizing the size distribution as well as surface roughness as a function of water to surfactant ratio.