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Photon Conversion Nanocrystals: Transforming Imaging and Assistive Technology (onsite and online)


Prof. Xiaogang Liu

Department of Chemistry and Center for Nanomedicine

National University of Singapore and Institute of

Materials Research Engineering



Date & Time

Thursday, 23 February 2023

3:00 am


Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing Two, HKU


Lanthanide doping in optical nanomaterials is a rapidly growing field of research, as it has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of energy conversion processes and enable new applications in a wide range of technologies. One of the key advantages of using lanthanides as dopants is their ability to absorb and emit light at specific wavelengths, which can be precisely controlled by the choice of lanthanide ion and the doping concentration. This makes them useful for frequency conversion, where light of one wavelength is converted into light of another wavelength. One of the most promising areas of research in this field is in the area of photon upconversion, where low-energy photons are converted into higher-energy photons. In this talk, I will highlight recent advances in the development of these frequency conversion nanocrystals for multimodal imaging, bio-detection, therapy, and X-ray scintillation. and assistive technology. I will also present recent efforts to develop electronic assistive technology prototypes that demonstrate the power of technology to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.


Dr. Xiaogang Liu received his B.Eng. from Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing, China (1992-1996), his M.Sc. in Chemistry from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA (1999), and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University, Evanston, USA (2004). After spending two years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, he joined NUS in 2006 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2017. Since 2018, Dr. Liu has been a Provost’s Chair Professor in the Department of Chemistry at NUS.

Among his research interests are the study of energy transfer in lanthanide-doped nanomaterials, the application of optical nanomaterials for neuromodulation, the development of advanced X-ray imaging scintillators, and the prototyping of electronic tools for assistive technologies.

His group has led to the controlled synthesis of luminescent upconversion nanoparticles (Nature 2010, 463, 1061; Nature Mater 2011, 10, 968; Nature Commun 2016, 7, 13059; Nature Nanotech 2015, 10, 237; Nature Photon 2021, 15, 732) and their utility for ultrasensitive detection of biological molecules (Nature Mater 2014, 13, 157), 3D volumetric display (Nature Nanotech 2015, 10, 237), anticounterfeiting (Nature Commun 2017, 8, 899), and instantaneous Brownian velocity measurement (Nature Nanotech 2016, 11, 851). His team has developed fundamental methodologies for luminescence enhancement of optical nanomaterials (Nature Nanotech 2019, 14, 1110; Nature Commun 2019, 10, 1391; for a review: Nature Mater 2023, in press), explored the basic relations between their structures and physical or chemical properties (J Phys Chem C 2019, 123, 1711151), and applied them to the fields of optogenetics (Science 2018, 359, 679), super-resolution imaging (Nature Commun 2015, 6, 8832; Nature Nanotech 2021, 16, 975; Nature Commun 2022, 13, 6636), X-ray, gamma-ray/mid-infrared imaging (Nature 2018, 561, 88; Nature 2021, 590, 410; Nature Photon 2021, 15, 187; Nature Nanotech 2021, 16, 1011; Nature Photon 2022, 16, 712; Nature Photon 2023, in press) and optoelectronics (Nature Mater 2015, 14, 685; Nature Photon 2019, 13, 406; Nature 2020, 587, 594; Nature Mater 2021, 20, 1539), immunotherapy (Science Adv 2020, 6, eabb2712; JACS 2023, 144, 16366), and assistive technologies (Nature Electron 2022, 5, 682; Nature Biomed Eng 2023, in press).

Dr. Liu’s work has been recognized with several national and international awards. He received the Chemical Society Reviews Emerging Investigator Lectureship Award (2012), the Taiwan National Science Council Lectureship Award (2012), the 41st International Conference on Coordination Chemistry Rising Stars Lectureship Award (Singapore 2014), President’s Science Award (Singapore 2016), and the NUS Outstanding Researcher Award (2017). He was a Chang Jiang Scholar at Northwestern Polytechnical University from 2018-2023. He is a member of Singapore National Academy of Science (SNAS).

Dr. Liu is an associate editor of Nanoscale, BMEMat, Journal of Luminescence, and has served on editorial boards of Journal of the Chinese Chemical Society, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Chemistry–An Asian Journal, Science China Materials, Advanced Optical Materials, InfoMat, The Innovation, Nanoscale Horizons, Small Methods, Next Technology, and Nano Letters.

Homepage of Dr. Xiaogang Liu’s research lab:

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Contact for


Prof. X.B. Yin

+(852) 3910 2659

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