This paper reports additive-free, reproducible, low-temperature solution-based process for the preparation of crystalline ZnO nanorods by homogeneous precipitation from zinc acetate. Also, ZnO nanorod structured dye sensitized solar cells using ruthenium dye (Z907) have been fabricated and characterized. The formation and growth of zinc oxide nanorods are successfully achieved. We analyzed three different synthesis method using solution phase, autoclave and microwave. The calcination effects on the morphology of ZnO nanorods are also investigated. Analysis of ZnO nanorods shows that calcination at lower temperature is resulted in a nanorod growth. Additive-free, well-aligned ZnO nanorods are obtained with the length of 330-558 nm and diameters of 14-36 nm. The XRD, SEM, and PL spectra have been provided for the characterization of ZnO nanorods. Microwave-assisted ZnO nanostructured dye sensitized solar cell devices yielded a short-circuit photocurrent density of 6.60 mA/cm(2), an open-circuit voltage of 600 mV. and a fill factor of 0.59, corresponding to an overall conversion efficiency of 2.35% under standard AM 1.5 sun light. (C) 2011 The Society of Powder Technology Japan. Published by Elsevier BA/. and The Society of Powder Technology Japan. All rights reserved.