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Single crystalline strontium borate (SrB2O4) nanorods were synthesized for the first time via a facile sol–gel route at low temperature. The SrB2O4 nanorods have a good crystalline nature with the growth direction along the [511] orientation and they are transparent from the ultraviolet to the visible regimes. Nanoscale three-point bending tests were performed directly on individual nanorods to probe their mechanical properties using an atomic force microscope. The elastic modulus of SrB2O4 nanorods was measured to be 158.2 ± 2.8 GPa, exhibiting a significant increase compared with other borate nanostructures and bulk borates.