Yujie Zhang, PhD

- Ottawa, Ontario

Yujie holds up a vial of resin containing a 3D-printed maple leaf.

Yujie prepares polymer resin used in optical 3D printing.

Yujie holds a glass slide showing a 3D-printed Stanford bunny.

Yujie Zhang received her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa in December 2019. Shortly afterwards, she applied to the Postdoctoral Fellowship program at the National Research Council (NRC) after seeing the possibilities it allowed for research projects. In September 2022, she began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Security and Disruptive Technologies Research Centre.

Her research focuses on developing materials in 3D printing, with a focus on volumetric printing—a new type of 3D printing technology that uses light and photoresins (a polymer that changes its properties when exposed to light). One of the main differences between regular 3D printing and volumetric 3D printing is that the objects are printed as a whole in all 3 dimensions at once, instead of in a repeated process of 2D layers from bottom to top, and there is no need for a support structure. This user-friendly printing method could be applied in many fields, such as optics, biomedical, structural electronics, microfluidics, and more.

Yujie is responsible for investigating the chemistry behind volumetric printing and applying this in order to develop photoresins that will not only cure more quickly but also yield better printing quality. She has developed a series of useful photoresin formulations for various applications that will allow 3D printing of ceramics. The project team has had success with their manufacturing techniques, allowing them to model and print and a real 3D-printed shape within about 1% accuracy, and in as fast as 1 minute!

"Being part of an organization that sees the value in research freedom is a privilege. Not only are the projects interesting but the people I work with make the research even better. Being surrounded by colleagues with such passion for their work makes such a difference. The positivity helps move the projects forward with ease. I would definitely recommend the Postdoctoral Fellowship program to anyone interested in applying," she says.

Yujie hopes to continue to push boundaries in the world of 3D printing and other exciting fields.

Find out more about the NRC's Postdoctoral Fellowship program and Security and Disruptive Technologies Research Centre.