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Hongjie Dai

Hongjie Dai

The J.G. Jackson and C.J. Wood Professor in Chemistry


Professor Dai’s research spans chemistry, physics, and materials and biomedical sciences, leading to materials with properties useful in electronics, energy storage and biomedicine. Recent developments include near-infrared-II fluorescence imaging, ultra-sensitive diagnostic assays, a fast-charging aluminum battery and inexpensive electrocatalysts that split water into oxygen and hydrogen fuels.

Born in 1966 in Shaoyang, China, Hongjie Dai began his formal studies in physics at Tsinghua U. in Beijing (B.S. 1989) and applied sciences at Columbia U. (M.S. 1991). His doctoral work under Dr. Charles Lieber at Harvard U. (Ph.D. 1994) focused on charge-density waves and superconductivity. During postdoctoral research at Rice U. with Dr. Richard Smalley, he developed carbon nanotube probes for atomic force microscopy. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1997, and in 2007 was named Jackson–Wood Professor of Chemistry. Among many awards, he has been recognized with the ACS Pure Chemistry Award, APS McGroddy Prize for New Materials, Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics and Materials Research Society Mid-Career Award. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, AAAS and National Academy of Sciences.

The Dai Laboratory has advanced the synthesis and basic understanding of carbon nanomaterials and applications in nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, energy storage and electrocatalysis.

The Dai Lab pioneered some of the now-widespread uses of chemical vapor deposition for carbon nanotube (CNT) growth, including vertically aligned nanotubes and patterned growth of single-walled CNTs on wafer substrates, facilitating fundamental studies of their intrinsic properties. The group developed the synthesis of graphene nanoribbons, and of nanocrystals and nanoparticles on CNTs and graphene with controlled degrees of oxidation, producing a class of strongly coupled hybrid materials with advanced properties for electrochemistry, electrocatalysis and photocatalysis. The lab’s synthesis of a novel plasmonic gold film has enhanced near-infrared fluorescence up to 100-fold, enabling ultra-sensitive assays of disease biomarkers.

Nanoscale Physics and Electronics
High quality nanotubes from his group’s synthesis are widely used to investigate the electrical, mechanical, optical, electro-mechanical and thermal properties of quasi-one-dimensional systems. Lab members have studied ballistic electron transport in nanotubes and demonstrated nanotube-based nanosensors, Pd ohmic contacts and ballistic field effect transistors with integrated high-kappa dielectrics.

Nanomedicine and NIR-II Imaging
Advancing biological research with CNTs and nano-graphene, group members have developed π–π stacking non-covalent functionalization chemistry, molecular cellular delivery (drugs, proteins and siRNA), in vivo anti-cancer drug delivery and in vivo photothermal ablation of cancer. Using nanotubes as novel contrast agents, lab collaborations have developed in vitro and in vivo Raman, photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging. Lab members have exploited the physics of reduced light scattering in the near-infrared-II (1000-1700nm) window and pioneered NIR-II fluorescence imaging to increase tissue penetration depth in vivo. Video-rate NIR-II imaging can measure blood flow in single vessels in real time. The lab has developed novel NIR-II fluorescence agents, including CNTs, quantum dots, conjugated polymers and small organic dyes with promise for clinical translation.

Electrocatalysis and Batteries
The Dai group’s nanocarbon–inorganic particle hybrid materials have opened new directions in energy research. Advances include electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction and water splitting catalysts including NiFe layered-double-hydroxide for oxygen evolution. Recently, the group also demonstrated an aluminum ion battery with graphite cathodes and ionic liquid electrolytes, a substantial breakthrough in battery science.


Professor, Chemistry
Member, Bio-X
Member, Cardiovascular Institute
Member, Child Health Research Institute
Member, Stanford Cancer Institute
Member, Stanford Cancer Institute
Member, Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Honors & Awards

Member, National Academy of Sciences (2016)
Mid-Career Researcher Award, Materials Research Society (2016)
Honorary Chair Professor, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (2015)
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (2010)
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)
The Ramabrahmam and Balamani Guthikonda Award, Columbia University (2009)
James McGroddy Prize for New Materials, American Physical Society (2006)
Julius Springer Prize of Applied Physics, Editors of Applied Physics A and Applied Physics B, Springer (2004)
Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation (2002)
Pure Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society (2002)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

Scientific Advisor and Co-founder, Nirmidas Biotech, Inc.
Editor-in-Chief, Nano Research, Springer
Editorial Board Member, Nano Letters, American Chemical Society
Editorial Board Member, Nano Research, Springer and Tsinghua University Press
Editorial Board Member, Advanced Functional Materials, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH.
Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Nanoscience, World Scientific, Singapore
Editorial Board Member, Chemical Physics Letters
Editorial Board Member, Nanotechnology, Institute of Physics, England
Editorial Board Member, Small, Wiley-VCH Verlag
Editorial Board Member, Applied Physics A, Springer

Professional Education

Postdoc, Harvard University, Charge density waves/Superconductor (1997)
Postdoc, Rice University, Carbon nanotubes for AFM (1995)
PhD, Harvard University, Applied Physics/Physical Chemistry (1994)
MS, Columbia University, Applied Sciences (1991)
BS, TsingHua University, Physics (1989)

Featured Publications