A new method for synthesis of titanium dioxide (TiO2)-dye nanoparticles is reported. TiO2 nanocrystals were obtained at 150 and 200 degrees C by using chemically bonded TiO2-sensitizer dye as a precursor. Titanium tetraisopropoxide was first modified with a dye molecule and then precipitated by dropping into acidic water. A strongly colored precipitate was obtained. Hydrothermal growth of a colloidal solution was carried out in a Teflon-lined stainless steel autoclave. Dye sensitized solar cell efficiencies obtained were comparable and fill factor values were close to the analogous cells prepared by the use of conventional TiO2 paste techniques. This method allows the use of different substrates together with nanocrystalline TiO2 for many technological applications. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.