Vertically aligned doped zinc oxide nanorods is a very promising material. It has the potential for use in a wide variety of applications such as photo catalysis, nano sensors, solar cells, and spintronic devices. While scientists and engineers have made great strides towards improving the properties of ZnO nanorods for the use in different applications, doping causes deterioration of the nanorods. This makes it difficult to characterize the actual properties of vertically aligned nanorods and makes is challenging to determine the best application for their use. Aluminum doping of ZnO nanorods enhances the electrical and optical properties of the nanorod and is one of the easiest and most cost-effective techniques that, if perfected, can improve the properties of the nanorod. This, in turn, is expected to increase the production of affordable high quality nanorods which will allow its wider use in practice. This talk will summarize studies that use different methods to overcome the problems faced in doping and present the techniques and methods our group used to get vertically aligned aluminum (Al) doped ZnO. In addition, we describe the use of atomistic simulation, and ab initio study to examine the detailed structural, electronic, and optical properties of Al doped ZnO.