Materials chemistry research at Tianjin University

Wenping Huab, Zhen Li*ab and Liqiang Liab
aInstitute of Molecular Aggregation Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China. E-mail:;;
bTianjin Key Laboratory of Molecular Optoelectronic Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China

Received 6th January 2020 , Accepted 6th January 2020
This themed collection presents the research activities in the field of chemistry and materials science at Tianjin University (TJU), and collects 12 Review articles by scientists from different schools and institutes, including the School of Sciences, the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, the School of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Institute of Molecular Aggregation Science.

TJU, established in 1895 as “Peiyang University”, was the first modern university in China. It was renamed as Tianjin University in 1951. TJU has been recognized as one of the first batch of 16 National Key Universities in 1959, and one of the first batch of universities to participate the “211” project, “985” Projects and “Double First-Class” plan.

TJU has three campuses: Weijin Road Campus, Peiyangyuan Campus and Tianjin Binhai Industrial Research Institute. To enhance the international collaboration and global perspectives and competitiveness of TJU faculty and students, TJU established the Georgia Tech-TJU Shenzhen Institute and the TJU (Fuzhou) International Campus. At present, TJU has 5055 faculty and staff members including 894 professors.

The University is actively promoting the reform of “Emerging Engineering Education” (abbreviated as “3E”), which was proposed by the Ministry of Education (MoE) of China in 2016. Apart from promoting 3E, TJU also established the strategy to simultaneously strengthen the development of Science, Medicine and Liberal Art. Under the support of the above strategies, the Institute of Molecular Aggregation Science was founded in 2018 to promote the interdisciplinary research on chemistry, materials, environment, biomedical sciences, and engineering, and Prof. Benzhong Tang, the pioneer scientist of aggregation-induced emission (AIE), was invited as the honored Dean.

Through the strategic support by TJU and unremitting efforts by the faculty and students, Chemistry and Materials Science at TJU have undergone significant progresses in recent years. The latest ESI (Essential Science Indicators) data show that Chemistry and Materials Science are ranked top one hundredth in the world. To highlight the research activities in these two fields at TJU, we organised this themed collection, and invited 12 scientists to contribute Review articles to introduce the recent research progress in the fields they are working on.

In the field of luminescence-related area, Prof. Benzhong Tang describes the recent applications of AIEgens in polymer-related fields for monitoring protein conformation, fibrillation, and enzyme activity, DNA synthesis, sequence and G-quadruplexes, analyzing a polymerization reaction, glass transition, and phase separation, and detecting humidity, and heat, etc. Prof. Zhen Li summarizes the recently reported organic mechanoluminescence (ML) compounds, which were classified according to their luminous and chemical structure features. Prof. Xiaoquan Lu summarizes the recent development of a large number of electrochemiluminescence (ECL) luminophores.

As for the organic electronics, Prof. Wenping Hu highlights the recent research progress and potential advantages of organic cocrystals in the field of stimulus response. Prof. Yanhou Geng summarized the progress of the molecular design strategies of n-type conjugated polymers for organic thin film transistors. Prof. Liqiang Li reviews the recent progresses of surface-grafting polymers, including their formation process and the utilization of surface-grafting polymers as insulators, conductors and semiconductors in versatile organic electronic devices.

In the field of carbon materials, Prof. Naiqin Zhao summarizes the current design and synthesis of 3D porous carbon materials with various structures. Prof. Wei Feng provides an up-to-date account of the design, preparation, fundamentals and applications of functional carbon dots (CDs). Prof. Shengbin Lei reviews the research progress in applications of organic–graphene hybrid films in photodetectors.

Prof. Yongchang Liu highlights several major chemical methods for preparing composite powder precursors for the sintering of oxide dispersion-strengthened (ODS) alloys. Prof. Wenguang Liu presents the progress of high-strength hydrogels for 3D printing from their own team and other groups. Prof. Long Chen reviews the latest representative advances in the field of porous organic polymers (POPs), focusing on their design, synthetic strategies, and their applications in photocatalysis.

Although this themed collection cannot cover all the research activities in chemistry and materials at TJU, it reflects how chemistry, materials science, and other related disciplines interplay to contribute to the development of materials chemistry at TJU. We sincerely hope that this themed collection will inspire readers to discover more exciting research advancements at TJU and stimulate further exciting collaborations between the university and many institutions worldwide. Last but not least, we highly appreciate the whole Materials Chemistry Frontier editorial team for giving us the opportunities to organize this themed collection.

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