Apai's work includes detailed comparative studies of planet formation around sun-like stars and low-mass stars; his team has discovered that the structure and evolution of protoplanetary disks depends on stellar mass. He used, for the first time, multi-epoch near-infrared radial velocity measurements to demonstrate that many O-type stars have massive companions at the time of their formation. Apai has also used the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope to carry out pioneering observations to map condensate clouds in brown dwarf and exoplanet atmospheres. These studies demonstrated that brown dwarfs at the L- to T spectral type transition have clouds with varying thickness. Daniel Apai was also member of the team that discovered and imaged the super-jupiter Beta Pictoris b around the star Beta Pictoris.