Welcome to the Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES)! With substantial support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), MACES was launched in the summer of 2015 at UC Merced, the first American research university founded in the 21st century. MACES serves as a nexus for nanomaterials-based research and education. We are creating innovative functional materials platforms to enable lightweight, compact, high-performance energy conversion and storage for future space missions. We are also developing new types of biosensors critical for planetary exploration, such as health monitoring and disease diagnosis. Education is another key facet of MACES. We have created a vertically integrated STEM education program, and we are committed to increasing student participation in research, particularly for historically underrepresented groups. To nurture the professional development of our students, we continuously refine our research training programs. Importantly, our research and educational programs are complemented by strong infrastructure building and enhancement. For example, MACES is playing a pivotal role in establishing a material characterization facility at UC Merced, the first of its kind in California’s Central Valley.

"I believe that MACES, NASA, and UC Merced are ushering in a new era of innovative nanoscience research, particularly for sensing and energy. Join us as we change what’s possible."

- Director Jennifer Q. Lu,


Our research, undergraduate, and graduate training and educational outreach programs are carefully designed to mirror NASA MIRO objectives. Our goals include:

  • Enhancing the scientific environment at UC Merced by recruiting and retaining high-caliber faculty and promising graduate students, as well as building facilities for materials science research. facilities
  • Impacting education at UC Merced and beyond by inspiring and training a new generation of STEM workers in a multidisciplinary materials research environment—particularly underrepresented and underprivileged students.
  • Driving research at UC Merced by promoting innovative and collaborative research in functional nanomaterials for energy and sensing for NASA missions and for needs here on Earth.