Research Scientist, Xerox Research Centre of Canada
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Suxia and her teammates work on design, synthesis and scale up of novel materials.... Suxia says the work she does is similar to testing out a recipe!
Suxia mashes up scientific knowledge and computer skills to research new specialty materials for Xerox!
As a researcher, Suxia works at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC) in Mississauga, Ontario. XRCC researches and develops materials that Xerox uses for its products around the world. At the centre, they focus on design and development of advanced materials such as next generation of toners, inks and photoreceptors. One example is Solid Ink technology. With her physics background, Suxia plays an important role in research to develop new technologies for Xerox.
Suxia mashes up scientific knowledge and computer skills. “I evaluate materials from the physics side and give feedback to the chemists.” Suxia uses computers to analyze and understand the research data that she collects. Suxia and her teammates work on design, synthesis and scale up of novel materials, along with characterization and functional testing to prove design concepts. Suxia says the work she does is similar to testing out a recipe!
The design stage is like specifying raw ingredients, the steps to prepare and cooking conditions (such as 350oF, 20 mins, etc.). Synthesis is like making the dish. Scale up is like doubling or tripling the recipe (but for research materials, it can be thousands of times). And finally, characterization and functional testing is like tasting the dish to see whether it is too salty or sweet. Based on the results, Suxia and her teammates decide how to modify the recipe. “Once we are happy with the recipe on a small scale, we need to think whether it will work for a large volume and determine if variables such as cooking temperature or time, or if it needs to be adjusted.” Data organization and analysis plays a very important role in each and every step. Sometimes Suxia uses computer models that she builds to help understand the data.
A Day in the Life
Suxia works in the materials evaluation lab where she specializes in research for some of the Xerox products (such as toners and fuser roll materials for laser printers). The first project that Suxia worked on was custom colour, which expands the range of available colours so that customers can get the exact colour they want to print. This involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of colour data, and developing theoretical models to explain the data. The data then leads to a better understanding of what controls colour, how to deliver a wider range of colours, and how to produce colours that do not change with printing conditions.
The research that Suxia does is important when a new product is developed at Xerox. She has also led studies to find alternatives to reduce costs for toner and developer materials.
Recently, Suxia has been leading an effort to establish a new coating capability at XRCC to control the surface properties of fuser components in printers (which fuse the toner image to the paper surface) in order to improve their performance. She worked in collaboration with both XRCC researchers and the Xerox development and manufacturing group. “I truly appreciate all the great support from everyone I work with.”
“I get to build new ideas and move them forward. It’s very satisfying.”
Why This Job Rocks
“At XRCC, great researchers, from different disciplines with diverse cultural backgrounds, work closely together. I learn so much from others. I get to build new ideas and move them forward. It’s very satisfying.”
Suxia received her bachelor of science, honours in physics from Nanjing University in China. She completed her PhD in physics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She then worked at the Centre for Advanced Nanotechnology at the University of Toronto on photonic crystals and optical characterization of nano-structures. Suxia joined Xerox Research Centre of Canada in 2007.
When Suxia was in high school, one of her high school teachers told Suxia she cares too much about winning and losing. “It was great advice and I took it to heart.” She learned to enjoy more of the journey to success than success itself.
Tips for Success
Look for challenges! Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Develop your skills. Cultivate your organization and communication skills. Be a team player by understanding and respecting others. “We cannot change the world but we can change our world.” Get feedback from other people. “I love getting constructive feedback from other people. Everyone has something to offer.” Be open and learn from others.