Zinc oxide nanoparticles have been synthesized sonochemically from zinc acetate solution in aqueous methanol, ethanol and iso-propanol containing about 5 volume% of alcohol. Characterization with FESEM, XRD, AFM and BET surface area shows that the synthesized particles differ in shape and size. ZnO synthesized using isopropanol was observed to be the most crystalline one. The synthesized nanoparticles were used for the photocatalytic reduction of hexavalent chromium in aqueous medium under solar radiation. It was observed that the initial reduction rates varied with the difference in morphology of ZnO crystallites. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.