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Anatase TiO2 nanocrystals with the specific surface area ranged from 100 to 220 m2/g were prepared by the hydrothermal treatment of anatase TiO2 sols at the temperature of 110Â°C and above. When TiO2 sols with a lower content of TiO2 and at a relatively high pH value were hydrothermal treated, the dispersible and nanorod-like TiO2 nanocrystals were formed via the oriented attachment. The nanorod-like TiO2 nanocrystals mixed with the original sol and were subsequently subjected to a further hydrothermal treatment; the branched and nanoring-like nanostructures in the anatase phase were obtained. The as-prepared TiO2 nanocrystals were characterized with X-ray diffraction, FT-Raman spectrometry, UV-vis absorption spectrometry and transmission electron microscopy. The TiO2 nanostructures were deposited on the FTO conductive glass as the anodic electrode for the dye-sensitized solar cell and assembled into solar cells. The derived solar cells showed a conversion efficiency of 6.12 % under 1 sun illumination of simulated sunlight and an external quantum efficiency (EQE) of more than 60% at the wavelength of 550 nm.