Equipped with modern facilities and staffed by a team of devoted teachers who are active in research, the Department is internationally known as a centre of excellence in chemistry. Current research interests of our faculty members can be broadly classified into the following areas: analytical and environmental chemistry, inorganic and structural chemistry, organic synthesis, organometallic chemistry, physical and biophysical chemistry, chemistry of macromolecules and colloids, surface and materials chemistry, laser spectroscopy, theoretical and computational chemistry. Being one of the best research departments in the University as well as an active centre of chemical research in the Asia-Pacific region, the Department has contributed over 100 publications per year in various international and peer-reviewed journals during the past few years.

Research Area

  • Analytical Chemistry and
    Environmental Science
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Structural Biology and
    Chemical Biology
  1. Trace Analysis Using Atom-absorption, UV-VIS Absorption, Gas-chromatography, High-performance Liquid Chromatography, and Polarographic Methods
  2. X-ray Fluorescence Methods in Chemical Analysis
  3. Surface Analysis
  4. Supercritical Fluid Extraction of Natural Products
  5. Microfluidic chip-based Analysis
  6. Environmental Monitoring
  7. Degradation and treatment of Pollutants
  1. Syntheses, Properties and Structure of Organometallic Compounds of Main Group, and Transition Metals
  2. Metalloporphyrin Chemistry of Transition Metals
  3. Syntheses and Properties of Metallophthalocyanines and -naphthalocyanines
  4. Use of Organometallics in Organic Synthesis
  5. Syntheses, Structures and Catalytic Properties of d- and f-block transition Metal Compounds
  6. Boron Cage Compounds and Metallacarboranes
  7. Inorganic Polymers
  8. Synthesis, structures and properties of metal complexes as mimics to the active sites of metalloenzymes
  9. Crystal Engineering
  10. Inclusion Chemistry
  11. Cluster Chemistry
  1. The Synthesis of Dendrimers and their Properties
  2. New Synthetic Methodologies
  3. Synthesis of Highly strained non-natural molecules
  4. Nonlinear Optical Materials
  5. Total Synthesis of Natural Molecules and Analogues with Pharmaceutical Implications
  6. Asymmetric Catalysis
  7. Carbohydrate Chemistry
  8. Asymmetric Synthesis
  9. Use of Computer Modelling in Organic Synthesis
  10. Green Chemistry
  11. Design and Synthesis of Organic Materials
  12. Molecular Recognition and Self-Assembly
  1. Surface Modifications of Semiconductors & Related Materials
  2. Gas Chromatographic Studies of Molecules
  3. Intelligent Gels, Nanoparticles and Dynamics of Functional Macromolecules in Solution
  4. Development of mass spectrometry instrumentation and applications in the study of biomolecules
  5. High sensitivity and high resolution laser spectroscopy
  6. Experimental and theoretical studies of intra- and inter-molecular interactions
  7. Structures, dynamics, and chemistry of transient species in weakly ionized plasmas
  8. Optical and spectroscopic properties of quantum crystals
  9. Molecular properties at extreme conditions (such as high electric fields, low temperature, etc.)
  10. High level ab initio calculations on the structures and properties of molecules, ions, and reactive species
  11. Solid-state NMR Study and Theoretical Calculation of Biopolymers
  12. Ab initio molecular dynamics study on surfaces, solution chemistry, reactive clusters, and new materials
  13. High performance computing, and its application for molecular modeling
  14. Development of organic electronics
  1. Molecular mechanism of genetic instabilities
  2. Fidelity of DNA replication
  3. Mechanistic pathways of DNA damage and repair
  4. Structure and dynamics of nucleic acids and peptides
  5. Neutodegenerative diseases related protein-protein interaction
  6. Development of non-viral gene vector (Artificial viruses)
  7. Chemical neurobiology: small molecules to promote neuronal regeneration
  8. Mechanistic studies in neurodegenerative diseases
  9. Site specific introduction of bioorthogonal functionalities in recombinant proteins
  10. Posttranslational modifications

State Key Laboratory of Synthetic Chemistry

State Key Laboratories, the pivotal components of China’s science and technology research system, serve as the base for top-level basic research and applied basic research development, assembling and nurturing outstanding researchers, as well as scholarly exchanges from all the countries in elite institutions and top universities. State Key Laboratories will be also as a national innovation system through coordinated multidisciplinary research in specific strategic research areas with a mission to carry out frontier research to meet the urgent social, scientific and economic needs.

To meet the immense demand for innovation and creativity in Synthetic Chemistry arising with the fast growing society, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of the Chinese Government has approved the establishment of State Key Laboratory of Synthetic Chemistry at both the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 2010. The State Key Laboratory of Synthetic Chemistry is partner with the State Key Laboratory of Organometallic Chemistry of Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The main objectives of the State Key Laboratory of Synthetic Chemistry will be essentially in response to the overriding two issues of Synthetic Chemistry: 1) To create or identify novel chemical entities that are either of fundamental interest with regard to structure and bonding, and/or with unique properties that have useful applications; 2) To devise/develop new methods that should be environmentally friendly for the synthesis of chemical entities of importance to the society. The research of CUHK branch covers interdisciplinary areas integrating Organic Synthesis with Organometallic Chemistry, Asymmetric Catalysis, Drug Discovery, and Material Science.

Shenzhen Center of Novel Functional Molecules

In order to reinforce the multidisciplinary and collaborative research in the area of novel functional molecules in the PRD region, Shenzhen Center of Novel Functional Molecules (SZCNFM) was established in 2012 at Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, under the supervision of Professor Henry N. C. Wong. SZCNFM provides a pivotal base for Chemistry Department to conduct research, education, development, and technology transfer. The SZCNFM platform also offers potentially collaborative opportunities with relevant industry for technology application, as well as acquisition of local and national research funding.

In 2013, Department of Chemistry of CUHK already advanced the collaboration with the Shenzhen Municipal Government to establish “Shenzhen Municipal Key Laboratory of Chemical Synthesis of Medicinal Organic Molecules” and is actively involved in State Key Research, complementing the national development plans and fostering the economic reengineering for the PRD region.