ZnO microrods were grown on glass substrates by the spray pyrolysis method and boron was doped into the ZnO microrods by diffusion. X-ray diffraction results confirmed that the incorporation of B leads to a slight reduction in the deposit texture. Scanning electron microscopy measurements showed that the morphology of the ZnO samples changed from a microrod to nanocrystalline structure with B-doping. Photoluminescence data indicate that B-doping leads to a relative increase of the unstructured green band intensity. Magnetic measurements revealed that B-doped ZnO samples exhibited room temperature ferromagnetism related to defects, in agreement with first principles theoretical calculations. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd and Techna Group S.r.l. All rights reserved.