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Research Strengths


Institute of Molecular Functional Materials

The AoE aims to bring together inter-institutional efforts from the area of synthetic, polymer, material and physical chemistry, and interdisciplinary expertise through national/international collaboration in physics and device engineering towards developing an international eminent research centre in the area of molecular functional materials towards addressing energy-related issues.


Theory, Modeling, and Simulation of Emerging Electronics

This AoE aims to develop next generation multi-scale electronic design automation (EDA) tools that combine the atomistic simulation of individual devices, the coarse-grained modeling of integrated circuitries and simulation of electric signals propagation and interference.


Chemical Biology Approach to Molecular Medicine

In this AoE, the researchers plan to build up chemical biology research platforms to understand fundamental biological processes (such as post-translational modification and oxidative stress) at the molecular level, and to develop novel therapeutic approaches to human diseases.



The Institute of Molecular Technology for Drug Discovery and Synthesis

This AoE combined the expertise of leading academics with high international repute in chemistry and life sciences. The mission was to implement world-class science and technology in the area of drug discovery and synthesis.


Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology

This AoE conducted research to develop innovative technologies for early detection, assessment, prediction and control of impacts arising from hypoxia (low oxygen), endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and emerging chemicals of concern (ECCs) in the marine environment.

Challenges in Organic Photo-Voltaics and Light Emitting Diodes—A Concerted Multi-Disciplinary and Multi-Institutional Effort

This project aims to address energy issues for the development of a sustainable environment. It focuses on organic photovoltaics (OPVs) for solar energy conversion to generate alternative sources of clean renewable energy, and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), which are recognised as a viable candidate for developing and implementing a more efficient solid-state lighting system.

Synthetic Chemistry

Directed by Professor C.M. Che, Department of Chemistry

The two main objectives of this SKL are to (1) create or identify novel chemical entities that are of fundamental interest with regard to structure and bonding and/or have unique properties that have useful applications; and (2) devise/develop new environmentally friendly methods for the synthesis of chemical entities of importance to society. The SKL is set up in collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is partnering with the SKL of Organometallic Chemistry of the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry.


Marine Pollution

HKU is also one of six collaborating local universities for the SKL in Marine Pollution, established in 2009 and hosted by City University of Hong Kong.

The mission of the SKLMP is to protect the marine environment of Hong Kong and South China by identifying major threats such as algal toxins and contaminants of emerging environmental concern, and developing tools and technologies to address and solve these problems.

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Chemical Biology for Drug Discovery 

HKU has become a centre of world-class research in drug discovery and synthesis, with such achievements as developing anti-cancer metal compounds, fluorescent probes to detect reactive oxygen species in cells and the world’s first model of chemical genetics in virology. The scientists behind these discoveries will combine their expertise to create new high-level platforms leading to the development of new molecular medicines.


Functional Materials for Molecular Electronics 

HKU scientists have discovered a number of new molecular and nanoscopic functional materials, such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), organic solar cells and nanomachineries. They will build on that success to develop new functional materials for the OLED display industry that are internationally competitive, as well as high-performance light-harvesting materials and new functional materials for various molecular electronic, robotic, memory and sensing applications.


Two-Dimensional Materials 

Two-dimensional (2-D) materials have the potential to revolutionise micro-electronics and information technology. Their unparalleled flexibility and controllability give them the potential to perform more efficiently than existing materials and to enable the discovery of new functional devices. Our scientists have been at the forefront globally in exploring 2-D materials and seek to expand their investigation and possible applications.


Sustainable Urban Water Environment

Rapid global urbanisation, industralisation and population growth in recent decades, particularly in Asia, have resulted in accelerating demands for clean potable water and treated wastewater for reuse. Current technologies for water and wastewater treatments were developed more than 50 years ago and are inadequate for the task. This theme will focus on the grand challenge of developing innovative technologies that can provide a sustainable urban water supply and control water pollution.