Joseph M. DeSimone, Ph.D.

Date(s) - 02/25/2019
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-17

Joseph M. DeSimone, Ph.D. Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry, UNC, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NC State University Digital Light Synthesis for Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing: Convergence of Software, Hardware and Molecular

In many ways, manufacturing processes define what’s possible in society. Opportunities to make things that can improve human health and well-being are central to our interests to develop scalable methods that can produce complex structures more economically than in the past. This lecture will describe a new advance in additive manufacturing, referred to as Digital Light Synthesis (DLS), which is rapid, uses materials that have the requisite properties to yield final parts, and is economically competitive. Our approach—rooted at the intersection of software, hardware and molecular science—promises to advance the industry beyond basic prototyping, which is what 3D printing has been primarily limited to, to truly enable 3D manufacturing. DLS harnesses light and oxygen to continuously grow objects from a pool of resin instead of printing them layer by layer. DLS capitalizes on the fundamental principle of oxygen-inhibited photopolymerization to generate a continual liquid interface of uncured resin between the growing part and the exposure window. The DLS technology raises the state-of-the-art in additive manufacturing in three ways:
•    GAME-CHANGING SPEED: 25-100 times faster than conventional 3D printing
•    COMMERCIAL QUALITY: produces objects with consistent mechanical properties
•    MATERIAL CHOICE: enables a broad range of polymeric materials
The combination of performance and speed has enabled many important use cases to emerge, including the large-scale manufacture of running shoes by Adidas (FutureCraft 4D), mass-customized dental products, next-generation helmets by Riddell to protect athletes, parts on production vehicles by Ford, and numerous parts in the consumer electronics, aerospace, and medical fields.


Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone is the CEO and co-founder of Carbon, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company working at the intersection of hardware, software, and molecular science to drive the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry. Prior to this, Joe was the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and of Chemistry at UNC. Joe has published more than 350 scientific articles and has nearly 200 issued patents in his name, with more than 200 patents pending. Further, Joe has mentored and trained 80 Ph.D. students in his career, half of whom are women and other members of underrepresented minority groups in the sciences.

Joe is one of fewer than 20 individuals who have been elected to all three branches of the U.S. National Academies: the National Academy of Medicine (2014), the National Academy of Sciences (2012), and the National Academy of Engineering (2005). He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2005).

Joe has received more than 50 major awards and recognitions, including the 2018 National Academy of Sciences Award for Convergent Science; the 2017 $250,000 Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment; the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, awarded by President Barack Obama in 2016; the inaugural $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine; the 2015 Dickson Prize from Carnegie Mellon University; the 2014 Industrial Research Institute Medal; the 2014 Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success; the 2012 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation by Sigma Xi; the 2010 AAAS Mentor Award in recognition of his efforts to advance diversity in the chemistry PhD workforce; the 2009 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award; the 2009 North Carolina Award; the 2008 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention and Innovation; the 2002 John Scott Award presented by the City Trusts, Philadelphia, given to “the most deserving” men and women whose inventions have contributed in some outstanding way to the “comfort, welfare and happiness” of mankind; and the 2002 Engineering Excellence Award by DuPont.

In addition to Carbon, Joe is the co-founder of several companies including Micell Technologies, Bioabsorbable Vascular Solutions, and Liquidia Technologies. He received his B.S. in Chemistry in 1986 from Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1990 from Virginia Tech. He currently resides in Monte Sereno, California with his wife of 30 years, Suzanne.