Department of Electrical Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Philosophy

Sept 2020 Entry


The generation, transmission and storage of electricity, and energy in general, have been a cornerstone of the development of humanity over the past 100 years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Hong Kong and, more recently, in mainland China. The demand for well-qualified electrical engineers is steadily increasing and the Department of Electrical Engineering has established a stellar reputation for its commitment to the highest standards of teaching, research and other scholarly activities.

The main emphasis of postgraduate research programmes is to advance the frontiers of electrical engineering through research investigation and innovation. Research students will spend most of their time solving a specific electrical engineering problem. The Department offers both Master- and Doctorate-level research studies.

Research students pursue a specific aspect of a subject in depth, with a view to contributing to the existing body of knowledge, under the supervision of a staff member with similar research interests. PhD students are also expected to produce evidence and argument supporting an original proposition that results in a significant contribution to knowledge of a subject.

Research Areas


Photonics research in the Department of Electrical Engineering covers a wide range of science and technology applications, including specialised optical fibre designs and fabrications using silica and polymer materials, fibre lasers, fibre sensors and their applications in gas sensing and structural and condition monitoring, long-haul optical fibre communications and short-distance links for data centres and big data applications, laser nano-/micro-fabrication technologies, microphotonic structures and devices, flexible optoelectronic devices and applications. The Photonics Research Centre hosted by the Department houses many state-of-the-art facilities, which include:

  • Fibre drawing towers for the fabrication of specialised silica/plastic optical fibres;
  • High-speed optical fibre transmission equipment (supports Tbps over 1,000s of kilometres) for research in high-performance optical fibre communication systems;
  • Optical maskless exposure platforms for 2D/3D micro-structures and devices; and
  • Several laser-based platforms for writing gratings and other micro-structures in fibres and waveguides.

The Department is also involved in many industrial R&D projects:

  • Designed and built the world’s first city-wide optical fibre sensing networks to monitor the operating condition of trains on all urban lines in Hong Kong, and
  • Developed 100 Gb/s and 1Tb/s optical fibre transmission systems with Huawei Co. Ltd, NEC and Corning.

Please click here to find out more about the research interests of our Department of Electrical Engineering and contact our staff directly to discuss research opportunities.

Power and Energy Systems

The complexity of power systems has increased drastically due to the continuing growth of interconnections between power grids and diverse sources of electricity, the advancement of new technologies and the need to address economic and environmental constraints. Widespread deregulation of the electricity supply industry and the promotion of renewable energy and electric vehicle usage have further added to the complexity of management of power systems. Research on emerging power and energy systems is essential for developing efficient and reliable power grids for the future; i.e., smart grids.

Electrical power engineering has long been the area of excellence within the University, and the Department is the only one that can provide heavy current electrical engineering programs of both education and research among all universities in Hong Kong. The Department has an excellent record of achievements in a wide range of research areas such as power system planning and operation, system protection, stability and control, power quality and harmonics, renewable energies integration, electric vehicle charging, energy and power markets and demand side management. Recent focuses also include artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics applied to smart grid and smart city development.  

The Department has been actively involved in many high-level research and consultancy projects such as two HK SAR Government Theme Based Research Scheme Projects on smart solar energy and smart grid development.  Our strategic partners include research institutions and industrial partners from Hong Kong, Mainland China, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe with whom joint research projects and research publications have been undertaken. The Department is also involved in developing commercial grade software packages for industrial applications.

Please click here to find out more about the research interests of our Department of Electrical Engineering and contact our staff directly to discuss research opportunities.

Power Electronics

Power electronics is an effective method of controlling power processing. The major research areas include static power conversion and motion control. The key development is to achieve high efficiency, high power density and high performance systems based on high frequency and soft-switching techniques. This, together with new control methods and new machine and magnetic designs, will form the elements of power electronics innovation. Areas of study include converter topology analysis, switched-capacitor converters, integrated magnetics, low profile magnetics, inductive power conversion, high power converters, multi-level converters, power quality control converters, LED lighting, wind power generation, high power photovoltaic energy storage processing, and battery, fuel cell and super capacitor energy management. In the motion control areas, switched-reluctance machine design and driver analysis, resonant inverter drives, robotic control, generator design and control, and wind power processing are promising areas of future development. The Department is also developing new areas of research in electric vehicles, high speed transportation, electric vessels, electric aircraft, alternative energy, medical power electronics, electromagnetic compatibility, DC and high frequency AC power distribution.

The Department is also actively involved in commercial development in automotive engineering. The pioneering works are in the areas of vehicle air-conditioning, solar vehicles, in-wheel motors, vehicle integrated charger and motor drives, high power chargers, wireless chargers, battery management systems, vehicle control units, body integrated energy storage, electric vessels, active suspension and drive-by-wire.

Please click here to find out more about the research interests of our Department of Electrical Engineering and contact our staff directly to discuss research opportunities.

Smart Materials, Devices, and Applications

Research into smart materials, devices and applications is a strategic technology resource to facilitate the sustainable development of electrical engineering (and its related science, technology and engineering fields) into newer and smarter dimensions.

Supported by the well-equipped Smart Materials and Systems Laboratory, the research group’s primary focus is on developing multifunctional smart materials with interestingly high magneto-, electro-, thermo- and mechano-optical responses at the bulk, micro- and nano-scales. It also aims to investigate the fundamentals of energy generation, conversion and storage processes, and structural integrity and environmental sustainability for multidisciplinary applications of the materials. The smart materials of interest include, but are not limited to, multiferroic, magnetoelectric, ferroelectric, piezoelectric, magnetostrictive, magnetocaloric, ferromagnetic shape memory, magnetorheological and photovoltaic materials. Moreover, the application of these materials focuses on the development of smart devices, including power supply-free energy-harvesting wireless sensors, coil-free self-isolated circuit protection and control devices, electromagnetic wave nano-absorbents, green batteries and energy cells, sensori-actuators/-transducers, ultrasonic motors and self-sensing vibration absorbers/isolators/dampers. In addition, the synergic technologies for integrated systems are condition and health monitoring; signal analysis, processing and transmission; drives, control and automation; energy harvesting, conversion and storage; prognosis and diagnosis; and nondestructive evaluation.

The research group has an outstanding record of research performance and an excellent reputation for professional services in the three aspects of basic, applied and industrial research, both locally and internationally.

Please click here to find out more about the research interests of our Department of Electrical Engineering and contact our staff directly to discuss research opportunities.

Smart Mobility

The concept of Smart Mobility is to achieve an efficient and sustainable city by utilising big data, digital platforms and a connected environment to optimise transport services for people and goods. The Department’s research activities include, but are not limited to, connected and autonomous vehicles, managed motorways, traffic signal optimisation, machine learning, data mining, utilisation of Bluetooth and Wifi data for traffic and pedestrian monitoring, optimisation of bus operations, asset life cycle costing, traffic safety analysis, environment-friendly transportation infrastructure, public transportation systems, queueing systems and multimodal traffic.

The Department has been actively involved in many research projects with leading research institutions and universities from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Australia, the USA and Europe.

Please click here to find out more about the research interests of our Department of Electrical Engineering and contact our staff directly to discuss research opportunities.

Research Facilities

The research infrastructure of the Department has been flourishing with the injection of generous funds from various sources in the last several years.  As a result, the Department now owns three research centres: a Photonic Sensors Research Centre, a Photonics Research Centre and a Power Electronics Research Centre.

Apart from these research centres, the Department has a number of laboratories to support the growing number of research activities.  Please click here to find out more details.

Major re-building work on the 10,000 sq. ft. of laboratories and offices, and upgrading of the facilities in the areas of Power Systems, and Power Electronics and Utilisation to support both undergraduate teaching and research activities commenced in July 2016 and is completed in 2017.

Other Information

For enquiry on research areas, please contact:


Prof. H.Y. Tam (Tel: 27666175; email:

Power Electronics

Prof. Eric Cheng (Tel: 27666162; email:

Power and Energy Systems

Prof. Z. Xu (Tel: 27666160; email:

Smart Materials, Devices, and Applications

Prof. Derek S.W. Or (Tel: 34003345; email:

Smart Mobility

Prof. Edward Chung (Tel: 27664019; email:


For general enquiry, please contact:

Supporting Documents

Academic Referee's Report

Compulsory - Two Academic Referee's Reports are required for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS); 

Optional - For PolyU Research Postgraduate programmes

Curriculum Vitae


Research Proposal

Optional - A standard form must be used for the submission of research proposal.  Please click here to download the form.

Transcript / Certificate