UCL Department of Chemical Engineering

Prof Junwang Tang

Prof Junwang Tang

Professor of Materials Chemistry and Engineering

Dept of Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st May 2009

Research summary

  • Photocatalytic Hydrogenation and Oxidation: Mimicking natural green plants, the aim of this project is to activate the small and stable molecules, eg. methane upgrade, water to H2 fuel, nitrogen to ammonia, CO2 conversion to fuels and benzene to high value chemicals.  The core of the project is the development of efficient inorganic and in particular polymer semiconductor photocatalysts with controllable structures and morphology to facilitate charge separation and utilisation with an aim to manufacture high value chemicals by a green or zero-carbon technology operated under ambient conditions. 

  • Fundamental Understanding of Photocatalysis: Semiconductor development for photocatalysis has to date been largely empirical, with only limited studies of the underlying mechanisms. My group  in parallel devotes substantial effort into mechanistic studies to explore the basic photochemical processes by time-resolved spectroscopies (eg. transient absorption, scattering spectra, transient IR and Raman spectra etc ), which are fed back to guide material modification for efficient photocatalysis.

  • Functional- & Bio-materials: The research is aimed at utilising the diverse technologies in my group, e.g. sol-gel, chemical deposition, electrochemical, hydrothermal and in particular microwave-intensified approaches to prepare biomaterials with controlled pore size and morphology, as well as grow films on different substrates for use in energy, drug delivery and tissue engineering.

  • Microwave Catalysis: The research work couples microwave irradiation with heterogeneous catalysis by using special reactors and a novel microwave-absorbing (MW) catalysts in a home-built fluidic system. This enables both microwave heating and microwave discharge assisted heterogeneous catalysis and the typical project in the group is microwave catalytic recycling of the plastics.


Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE Part 1 | 2010
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2001
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1998
Northeastern University
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1995


Prof. Tang obtained his PhD in Physical Chemistry (Heterogeneous Catalysis) from the State Key Laboratory of Catalysis, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, China in 2001. After that, he was appointed as a NIMS researcher and JSPS fellow at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) Japan, working on solar fuels synthesis and photocatalytic organic contaminant decomposition.

In 2005 he moved to the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London as a senior Research Associate focusing on mechanistic study on  photocatalysis by the state of the art time-resolved spectroscopies. In 2009, Dr. Tang joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCL as a Lecturer (tenure) and an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, then promoted to Senior Lecturer, Reader and Full Professor of Materials Chemistry and Engineering. He was also elected as a Member of Academia Europaea (2021), Fellow of European Academy of Sciences (2020), Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry(2014).