Ben Zhong Tang 唐本忠

Member, Chinese Academy of Sciences 中国科学院院士 (MCAS)

Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry(英国)皇家化学会会士 (FRSC)


Chair Professor, Department of Chemistry

The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST)

Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

Phone: +852-2358-7375 (office: Rm. CYT-6002); E-mail:

Link to the homepage of Tang Research Group

Link to AIEgen Biotech Co., Ltd.



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 & Technology (HKUST).  His research interests include macromolecular chemistry, materials science, and biomedical theranostics.  He is spearheading the 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 2015.

Tang received BS and PhD degrees from South China University of Technology (SCUT) and Kyoto University, respectively.  He conducted postdoctoral research at University of Toronto.  He joined HKUST as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to chair professor in 2008.  He was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in 2009 and 2013, respectively.  He is currently serving as Dean of the SCUT-HKUST Joint Research Institute.

Tang has published >1,000 papers.  His publications have been cited >50,000 times, with an h-index of 112.  He has been listed by Thomson Reuters as Highly Cited Researcher in both areas of Chemistry and Materials Science.  He received the State Natural Science Award (1st Class; 2017) from the Chinese Government, the Scientific and Technological Progress Award from the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation (2017), Senior Research Fellowship from the Croucher Foundation (2007), etc.  He is now serving as Editor-in-Chief of Materials Chemistry Frontiers (RSC & CCS).


Examples of Research Highlights

·       CCTV highlighted Dr. Tang’s research on aggregation-induced emission [新闻直播间] 2017年度国家自然科学一等奖

·       Dr. Tang was honored by a festschrift in J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem. (2017, 55, 505–775).

·       Small published a Special Issue on Aggregation-Induced Emission (2016, 12, 6419–6632).

·       AIE research highlighted by a Nature News Feature Article “The nanolight revolution is coming” on 3 March 2016 (Nature 2016, 531, 26–28).

·       The New York Times published a story about AIE research (“Unusual Molecules Shine Light on New Applications”) on 15 Feb 2016.

·       Dr. Tang was honored by a festschrift in J. Inorg. Organomet. Polym. Mater. (2015, 25, 1–175).


(1)    Academic Qualifications

(2)    Professional Services

(3)    Examples of Review Articles

(4)    Examples of Recent Publications

(5)    Useful Links

(1) Academic Qualifications

12/2012-present    Stephen K. C. Cheong Professor of Science, HKUST
07/2008-present    Chair Professor, Department of Chemistry, HKUST

07/1994-06/2008  Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Department of Chemistry, HKUST
04/1989-06/1994  Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
04/1983-03/1988  PhD, Department of Polymer Chemistry, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
02/1978-01/1982  BS, Department of Polymer Science & Engineering, South China University of Technology

(2) Scientific Honors and Professional Services

(3) Selected Examples of Invited Review Articles

  1. Journey of Aggregation-Induced Emission Research ACS Omega 2018, 3, 3267.
  2. Polymerizations Based on Triple-Bond Building Blocks Prog. Polym. Sci. 2018, 78, 92.
  3. Conceptual Novelty: the Holy Grail of Scientific Pursuit Nat. Sci. Rev. 2017, 4, 283 (Editorial).
  4. Fluorescent Sensors Based on Aggregation-Induced Emission: Recent Advances and Perspectives ACS Sensors 2017, 2, 1382.
  5. AIEgens for Biological Process Monitoring and Disease Theranostics Biomaterials 2017, 146, 115.
  6. Aggregation-Induced Emission Probes for Cancer Theranostics Drug Disc. Today 2017, 22, 1288.
  7. Siloles in Optoelectronic Devices J. Mater. Chem. C 2017, 8, 7375.
  8. AIE Luminogens for Bioimaging and Theranostics: from Organelles to Animals Chem 2017, 3, 56.
  9. Functionality and Versatility of Aggregation-Induced Emission (AIE) Luminogens Appl. Phys. Rev. 2017, 4, 021307.
  10. Circularly-Polarized Luminescence (CPL) from Chiral AIE Molecules and Macrostructures Small 2016, 12, 6495.
  11. Organic Dots Based on AIEgens for Two-Photon Fluorescence Bioimaging Small 2017, 13, 6430.
  12. Kinetic Trapping–A Strategy for Directing the Self-assembly of Unique Functional Nanostructures Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 11870.
  13. Fabrication of Fluorescent Nanoparticles Based on AIE Luminogens (AIE Dots) and Their Applications in Bioimaging Mater. Horiz. 2016, 3, 283.
  14. Aggregation-Induced Emission: Together We Shine, United We Soar! Chem. Rev. 2015, 115, 11718.
  15. AIE Luminogens: A Family of New Materials with Multifaceted Functionalities Sigma-Aldrich, 2015, 8 Oct 2015.
  16. Aggregation-Induced Emission of Siloles Chem. Sci. 2015, 6, 5347.
  17. Mechanochromic Luminescence of Aggregation-Induced Emission Luminogens J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2015, 6, 3429.
  18. AIE Luminogens: Emission Brightened by Aggregation Mater. Today 2015, 18, 365.
  19. Multicomponent Polymerization of Alkynes Adv. Polym. Sci. 2015, 269, 17.
  20. Biosensing by Luminogens with Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristics Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44, 4228.
  21. Specific Light-up Bioprobes Based on AIEgen Conjugates Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44, 2798.
  22. Aggregation-Induced Emission: The Whole Is More Brilliant than the Parts Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 5429.
  23. AIE Macromolecules: Syntheses, Structures and Functionalities Chem. Soc. Rev. 2014, 43, 4494.
  24. Bioprobes Based on AIE Fluorogens Acc. Chem. Res. 2013, 46, 2441.
  25. Luminogenic Polymers with Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristics Prog. Polym. Sci. 2012, 37, 182.
  26. Aggregation-Induced Emission Chem. Soc. Rev. 2011, 40, 5361.
  27. Click Polymerization Chem. Soc. Rev. 2010, 39, 2522. (Most Accessed Article)
  28. Acetylenic Polymers: Syntheses, Structures and Functions Chem. Rev. 2009, 109, 5799.
  29. Aggregation-Induced Emission: Phenomenon, Mechanism and Applications Chem. Commun. 2009, 4332. (Most Cited Feature Article)
  30. Functional Polyacetylenes Acc. Chem. Res. 2005, 38, 745.

(4) Selected Examples of Recent Publications (>1,100 papers; h-index = 117)

  1. In Situ Monitoring of Molecular Aggregation Using Circular Dichroism Nature Commun. 2018, in press.
  2. Fluorogenic Ag+-Tetrazolate Aggregation Enables Novel and Efficient Fluorescent Biological Silver Staining Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, in press.
  3. A Facilely Accessible Ionic Aggregation-induced Emission Luminogen with Hydrogen Bonding Switchable Emission and Wash-free Imaging Ability Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, in press.
  4. Rational Design of A Water-Soluble NIR Aiegen, and Its Applications for Ultrafast Wash-Free Cellular Imaging and Photodynamic Cancer Cell Ablation Chem. Sci. 2018, in press.
  5. Ultrabright Red AIEgens for Two-Photon Vascular Imaging with High Resolution and Deep Penetration Chem. Sci. 2018, in press.
  6. 1+1>>2: Dramatically Enhancing the Emission Efficiency of TPE-Based AIEgens but Keeping Their Emission Color through Tailored Alkyl Linkages Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, in press.
  7. Real-Time and High-Resolution Bioimaging with Bright Aggregation-Induced Emission Dots in Short-Wave Infrared Region Adv. Mater. 2018, in press.
  8. Efficient Red/Near-Infrared Fluorophores Based on Benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b']dithiophene 1,1,5,5-Tetraoxide for Targeted Photodynamic Therapy and in vivo Two-Photon Fluorescence Bioimaging Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, in press.
  9. Multiple yet Controllable Photoswitching in a Single AIEgen System J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 1966.
  10. Rational Design of Perylenediimide-Substituted Triphenylethylene to Electron Transporting AIEgens with High Mobility and Near-Infrared Emission Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, 28, 1705609.
  11. Malonitrile-Functionalized Tetraphenylpyrazine: Aggregation-Induced Emission, Ratiometric Detection of Hydrogen Sulfide and Mechanochromism Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, 28, 1704689.
  12. Multifunctional AIEgens: Ready Synthesis, Tunable Emission, Mechanochromism, Mitochondrial and Bacterial Imaging Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, 28, 1704589.
  14. White Light Emission from a Single Organic Molecule with Dual Phosphorescence at Room Temperature Nature Commun. 2017, 8, 8, 416 (1–8).
  15. Mitochondrial Imaging with Combined Fluorescence and Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy Using a Probe of Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristic J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 17022.
  16. Ionization and Anion-π+ Interaction: A New Strategy for Structural Design of Aggregation-Induced Emission Luminogens J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 16974.
  17. Why Do Simple Molecules with ‘Isolated’ Phenyl Rings Emit Visible Light? J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 16264.
  18. Ultrafast Delivery of AIE Nanoparticles and Pure Organic Phosphorescent Nanocrystals by Saponin Encapsulation J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 14792.
  19. Dramatic Differences in Aggregation-Induced Emission and Supramolecular Polymerizability of Tetraphenylethene-Based Stereoisomers J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 10150.
  20. Metal-Free Multicomponent Tandem Polymerizations of Alkynes, Amines, and Formaldehyde toward Structure- and Sequence-Controlled Luminescent Polyheterocycles J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 5075.
  21. Spontaneous Amino-Yne Click Polymerization: A Powerful Tool toward Regio-and Stereo-specific Poly(b-aminoacrylates) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 5437.
  22. Highly Efficient Nondoped OLEDs with Negligible Efficiency Roll-Off Fabricated From Aggregation-Induced Delayed Fluorescence Luminogens Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 12971.
  23. Multiscale Humidity Visualization by Environmental Sensitive Fluorescent Molecular Rotors Adv. Mater. 2017, 29, 1703900.
  24. Furan Is Superior to Thiophene: A Furan-cored AIEgen with Remarkable Chromism and OLED Performance Adv. Sci. 2017, 4, 1700005.
  25. AIE Nanoparticles with High Stimulated Emission Depletion Efficiency and Photobleaching Resistance for Long-Term Super-resolution Bioimaging Adv. Mater. 2017, 29, 1703643.
  26. Facile Synthesis of Red/NIR AIE Luminogens with Simple Structures, Bright Emissions and High Photostabilities, and Their Applications for Specific Imaging of Lipid Droplets and Image-Guided Photodynamic Therapy Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 27, 1704039.
  27. Robust Red Organic Nanoparticles for in vivo Fluorescence Imaging of Cancer Cell Progression in Xenografted Zebrafish Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 27, 1701418.
  28. Mitochondrion-Anchoring Photosensitizer with Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristics Synergistically Boosts the Radiosensitivity of Cancer Cells to Ionizing Radiation Adv. Mater. 2017, 29, 1606167.
  29. Achieving High-Performance Nondoped OLEDs with Extremely Small Efficiency Roll-Off by Combining Aggregation-Induced Emission and Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 27, 201606458.
  30. Tunable Mechanoresponsive Self-assembly of An Amide-Linked Dyad with Dual-Sensitivity of Photochromism and Mechanochromism Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 27, 1701210.
  31. A Red-emissive Antibody-AIEgen Conjugate for Turn-on and Wash-free Imaging of Specific Cancer Cells Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 7014.
  32. Two-Photon AIE Bioprobe with Large Stokes Shift for Specific Imaging of Lipid Droplets Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 5440.
  33. Functionalized AIE Nanoparticles with Efficient Deep-red Emission, Mitochondria Specificity, Cancer Cell Selectivity and Multiphoton Susceptibility Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 4634.
  34. Light-Up Probe Based on AIEgens: Dual Signal Turn-On for Cascade Caspase Activation Monitoring Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 2723.
  35. Aggregation-Induced Emission: Mechanistic Study of Clusteroluminescence of Tetrathienylethene Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 2629.
  36. AIE-Active Theranostic System: Selective Staining and Killing of Cancer Cells Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 1822.
  37. Photoactivatable Aggregation-Induced Emission Probes for Lipid Droplets-Specific Live Cell Imaging Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 1763.
  38. AIEgen-Based Theranostic System: Targeted Imaging of Cancer Cells and Adjuvant Amplification of Antitumor Efficacy of Paclitaxel Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 2191.
  39. AIEgens for Dark through-Bond Energy Transfer: Design, Synthesis, Theoretical Study and Its Application in Ratiometric Hg2+ Sensing Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 2047.
  40. Organic Solid Fluorophores Regulated by Subtle Structure Modification: Color-Tunable and Aggregation-Induced Emission Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 577.
  41. Highly Stable Organic Small Molecular Nanoparticles as an Advanced and Biocompatible Phototheranostic Agent of Tumor in Living Mice ACS Nano 2017, 11, 7177–7188.
  42. Nanocrystallization: A Unique Approach to Yield Bright Organic Nanocrystals for Biological Applications Adv. Mater. 2017, 29, 1604100 (1–6).


  1. Gelation Process Visualized by Aggregation-Induced Emission Fluorogens Nature Commun. 2016, 7, 12033.
  2. Fluorescence Microscopy as an Alternative to Electron Microscopy for Microscale Dispersion Evaluation of Organic-Inorganic Composites Nature Commun. 2016, 7, 11811.
  3. Real-Time Imaging of Cell Behaviors in Living Organisms by a Mitochondria Targeting AIE Fluorogen Adv. Funct. Mater. 2016, 26, 7132.
  4. Activatable Fluorescent Nanoprobe with Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristics for Selective In Vivo Imaging of Elevated Peroxynitrite Generation Adv. Mater. 2016, 28, 7249.
  5. A Mitochondrion-Specific Photoactivatable Fluorescence Turn-on AIE-based Bioprobe for Localization Super-Resolution Microscope Adv. Mater. 2016, 28, 5064.
  6. Synthesis of Imidazole-Based AIEgens with Wide Color Tunability and Exploration of Their Biological Applications Adv. Funct. Mater. 2016, 26, 824.
  7. Rational Molecular Design for Achieving Persistent and Efficient Pure Organic Room Temperature Phosphorescence Chem 2016, 1, 592.
  8. A Colour-Tunable Chiral AIEgen: Reversible Coordination, Enantiomer Discrimination and Morphology Visualization Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 6106.
  9. Luminescent Photonic Crystals with Multi-functionality and Tunability Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 5692.


  1. Synthesis and Design of Aggregation-Induced Emission Surfactants: Direct Observation of Micelle Transition and Microemulsion Droplets Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 15160.
  2. Unusual Aggregation-Induced Emission of a Coumarin Derivative as a Result of the Restriction of an Intramolecular Twisting Motion Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 14492.
  3. Multichannel Conductance of Folded Single-Molecule Wires Aided by Through-Space Conjugation Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 4231.
  4. Mitochondrion-Specific Live-Cell Bioprobe Operated in a Fluorescence Turn-On Manner and a Well-Designed Photoactivatable Mechanism Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 7093.
  5. Light-up Probe for Targeted and Activatable Photodynamic Therapy with Real-time In-situ Reporting of Sensitizer Activation and Therapeutic Responses Adv. Funct. Mater. 2015, 25, 6586.
  6. Achieving Persistent Room Temperature Phosphorescence and Remarkable Mechanochromism from Pure Organic Luminogens Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 6195.
  7. A Luminogen with Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristic for Wash-Free Bacterial Imaging, High-Throughput Antibiotics Screening and Bacterial Susceptibility Evaluation Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 4931.
  8. Insight into the Strong Aggregation-Induced Emission of Low-Conjugated Racemic C6-Unsubstituted Tetrahydropyrimidines through Crystal-Structure-Property Relationship of Polymorphs Chem. Sci. 2015, 6, 4690.
  9. Aggregation-Induced Emission and Aggregation-Promoted Photochromism of Bis(diphenylmethylene)dihydroacenes Chem. Sci. 2015, 6, 3538.
  10. Conjugation-Induced Rigidity in Twisting Molecules: Filling the Gap between Aggregation-Caused Quenching and Aggregation-Induced Emission Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 4496.
  11. Single Molecule with Dual Function on Nanogold: Biofunctionalized Construct for In Vivo Photoacoustic Imaging and SERS Biosensing Adv. Funct. Mater. 2015, 25, 2316.
  12. High-order Nonlinear Optical Effects in Organic Luminogens with Aggregation-Induced Emission Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 2332.


  1. Modulating Optical Power Nature Mater. 2014, 13, 917.
  2. An Aggregation-Induced-Emission Platform for Direct Visualization of Interfacial Dynamic Self-Assembly Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 13518.
  3. Two-Dimensional Metal-Organic Framework with Wide Channels and Responsive Turn-On Fluorescence for the Chemical Sensing of Volatile Organic Compounds J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 7241.
  4. Direct Visualization of Surface-Assisted Two-Dimensional Diyne Polycyclotrimerization J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 5567.
  5. Targeted Theranostic Platinum(IV) Prodrug with a Built-in Aggregation-Induced Emission Light-up Apoptosis Sensor for Noninvasive Early Evaluation of Its Therapeutic Responses In-situ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 2546.
  6. Self-assembly of Ultralong Polyion Nano-Ladders Facilitated by Ionic Recognition and Molecular Stiffness J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 1942.
  7. Reversible Photochromic System Based on Rhodamine B Salicylaldehyde Hydrazone Metal Complex J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 1643.
  8. Ordered Honeycomb Structure Surface Generated by Breath Figures for Liquid Reprography Adv. Funct. Mater. 2014, 24, 7241.
  9. Creation of Bifunctional Materials: Improve Electron-Transporting Ability of Light Emitters based on AIE-Active 2,3,4,5-Tetraphenylsiloles Adv. Funct. Mater. 2014, 24, 3621.
  10. Bright and Photostable Organic Fluorescent Dots with Aggregation-Induced Emission Characteristics for Noninvasive Long-term Cell Imaging Adv. Funct. Mater. 2014, 24, 635.

(5) Useful Links