Department of Chemistry
Division of Biomedical Engineering
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Aggregation-induced Emission: From Fundamentals to Applications
Efﬁcient luminescent materials hold great promise for high-tech applications in energy, environment, and healthcare. The light emission of conventional luminophores is often weakened or quenched when the molecules are aggregated, which is notoriously known as aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ). Considering that luminophores are commonly used as solid or aggregate, strong solid-state emitters are highly desirable. In 2001, Tang’s group discovered a kind of propeller-like molecules that showed opposite luminescence behavior to the ACQ effect: the aggregate formation turned on their light emission, changing them from weak ﬂuorogens into strong emitters. They termed this novel phenomenon aggregation-induced emission (AIE). Through detailed mechanistic study of the photophysical processes, restriction of intramolecular motion (RIM) was identiﬁed as the main cause of the AIE effect. Under the guidance of the RIM mechanism, they developed a great number of AIE luminogens (AIEgens) with emission colors covering the entire visible spectrum, even extending to UV and near-IR spectral regions. The Tang Group has also explored intriguing applications of AIEgens in such areas as optoelectronic devices, chemo/biosensing, and biomedical imaging. In this lecture, Professor Tang will discuss the excitement his group has found in studying this collection of molecular aggregates and in exploring their special applications.
Ben Zhong Tang is Stephen K. C. Cheong Professor of Science, Chair Professor of Chemistry, and Chair Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He is also the Dean of the SCUT-HKUST Joint Research Institute. His research interests include macromolecular chemistry, materials science, and biomedical theranostics. He is spearheading research on aggregation-induced emission (AIE), a topic ranked no. 2 in the areas of Chemistry and Materials Science by Thomson Reuters in its report on Research Fronts from 2015.
Tang received BS and PhD degrees from South China University of Technology and Kyoto University, respectively, before conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Toronto. He joined HKUST as Assistant Professor in 1994 and was promoted to Chair Professor in 2008. He was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2009) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (2013) and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Materials Chemistry Frontiers (RSC & CCS). Tang has published >1,200 papers, which have been cited > 64,270 times, earning him an h-index of 123. He has been listed by Thomson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher in both Chemistry and Materials Science. Awards include the State Natural Science Award (1st Class) from the Chinese Government, Scientiï¬c and Technological Progress Award from the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation, and Senior Research Fellowship from the Croucher Foundation.