About Professor Dai


Professor Hongjie Dai has relocated to HKU as a Chair Professor in the Department of Chemistry with joint appointment in Materials Engineering and the School of Medicine. He is currently also the Jackson-Wood Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at Stanford University. Click here to view his CV.


Research in Professor Dai’s group


Professor Dai’s group has been a leader in the area of nanoscience, nanotechnology and nanomedicine. His work is highly interdisciplinary, bridging chemistry, physics, materials and biomedical sciences.

Over the years Professor Dai’s lab pioneered carbon based nanosciences including (1) CVD synthesis of carbon nanotubes and the first graphene nanoribbons, (2) ballistic CNT based field-effect transistors, CNT nanoelectronic sensors, (3) CNT based drug delivery and photothermal therapy, (4) graphene nanosheets based nanomedicine.

Professor Dai’s group pioneered NIR-II/SWIR (Near-infrared-II/short wave infrared) biological imaging in 2009.

In the renewable energy area, Professor Dai’s group devised ‘strongly coupled carbon-inorganic hybrid materials’ by growing electrocatalyst and battery material on CNTs and graphene in solution phase, leading to advanced electrochemical properties for water splitting, O2 and H2 reduction and batteries.

Professor Dai’s group invented rechargeable Al battery, and Li/Cl2 and Na/Cl2 batteries.

Current research interest include the following.

  1.   Nanomaterials research:
    • Synthesis of novel nanomaterials in 0D (nanoparticles, quantum dots), 1D (wires and tubes) and 2D (sheets) with interesting physical, physiochemical and catalytic properties.
    • Spectroscopy and Microscopy characterization using advanced analytical tools.
  2.   New materials for renewable energy research:
    • Electrocatalysis for water splitting including seawater.
    • New approaches to electrocatalytic CO2 reduction to value added products with high selectivity.
    • New materials development for solving environmental and energy problems.
    • Develop new generations of rechargeable batteries.
    • Al based batteries.
    • Rechargeable Li/Cl2 and Na/Cl2 batteries.
    • Batteries using non-flammable electrolytes, including ionic liquid, polymer and solid state electrolytes.
  3.   Nanomedicine and bioengineering research:
    • Organic synthesis of new dye molecules for fluorescence imaging in the NIR-II/SWIR (1000-3000 nm) window.
    • Synthesis of nanoparticles/nanocrystals for NIR-II/SWIR emission.
    • Developing genetically engineered NIR emitting fluorescent proteins.
    • Develop new optical imaging techniques integrating 1-, 2- and 3- photon detections in the visible and NIR-II/SWIR.
    • Molecular imaging of preclinical mouse models of diseases (including cancer, cardiovascular, brain/neurological, etc.) in vivo.
    • In vivo Imaging of immune responses to immunotherapy and vaccinations.
    • Nanovaccine development for cancer immunity and infectious diseases.
    • Towards clinical translation of NIR-II/SWIR imaging for perfusion, lymph node mapping, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and imaging guided surgery.


Positions Available


Candidates with strong background in chemistry, applied physics, materials science/chemical engineering/ bioengineering and medicine are encouraged to apply for these positions. Send your inquiry to hjdai@hku.hk with CV, research experience/accomplishments and names of three references.

Professor Dai’s students and postdocs are all over the world including many professors at universities such as Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, Yale, Duke, USC, BC, Univ. Tokyo, Tsinghua, Fudan, Peking University, Nanjing University, SooChow University, et. al.




As of September 2023:

        Total Citation                           Publication #         h-index

Click here for complete list of publications