UCLA Engineering Professor Receives NSF CAREER Award to Develop Rapid 3D Printing Processes for Electronic Components

Rayne Zheng

Mar 9, 2021

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Xiaoyu “Rayne” Zheng, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, the agency’s highest honor for faculty members in the early stages of their teaching and research careers.

The award includes a five-year, $525,000 grant to support Zheng’s research developing new rapid 3D printing processes that incorporate multiple materials such as metals, plastics and ceramics into complex micro-structures with multiple functions. His integrated research, teaching and outreach program aims to train the next generation of scientists and engineers on how to address global challenges through advanced manufacturing.

The research will lay out foundational knowledge underpinning the new manufacturing process. The advance could help create multi-material components for robots that contain integrated active, electronic and structural materials. In addition to robotics, the technology could also apply to the energy, health care, electronics, aerospace and automotive industries.

Zheng, who also holds an appointment in the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), leads the Additive Manufacturing and Metamaterials Laboratory at UCLA Samueli. His research group develops additive manufacturing — technologies that grow 3D objects one superfine layer at a time. In addition, his research focuses on using material synthesis to create multi-functional materials and systems with controlled micro-architectures and encoded properties.

Aside from the NSF CAREER Award, Zheng has also received the Young Faculty Award from the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA; the Air Force Young Investigator Award; the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award; 3M Faculty Award and the Freeform Additive Manufacturing Excellence Award.

Since 2016, more than 20 faculty members affiliated with UCLA Samueli have received an NSF CAREER Award.

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