Undoped and Cu-doped ZnO nanorods with different copper contents were produced on glass substrates. The structural and optical properties of the samples were investigated through X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and photoluminescence (PL) measurements. Irrespective of the Cu content in ZnO nanorods, X-ray diffraction results showed that all the ZnO nanorods had a hexagonal structure with a strong preferred orientation along (002) direction. SEM results indicated that increasing Cu content caused a change from the pyramidal geometry to a hexagonal rod shape in the morphology of ZnO. Photoluminescence measurements exhibited two emission bands in the spectra: one sharp ultraviolet luminescence at similar to 379 nm and one broad visible emission ranging from 400 to 720 nm. The photocatalytic properties of undoped and Cu-doped ZnO nanorods synthesized by a chemical bath deposition method were studied for the first time in this study by using photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue (MB, 9.4 x 10(-6) M) as a model chemical. (C)2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.