The Sensing Thrust at MACES aims to bridge the gap between fundamental studies of nanoscale materials and device engineering to construct new sensors with unprecedented sensitivity, selectivity, and reproducibility. Our team employs a unique combination of methods, including high-resolution techniques, to characterize interfacial molecular recognition at the single molecule/structural level, to synthesize nanoparticles, to assemble higher-order structures with unprecedented precision, complexity, and functional tunability, and to integrate nanomaterial-based devices with new sensing strategies.

Ultrahigh-Resolution Studies of Biosensor Surfaces

The sensitivity, selectivity, and reliability of many biosensors are ultimately limited by the properties of the ligands that recognize analyte molecules on the sensor surface. MACES is developing ultra-high microscopy techniques to probe the recognition element at the molecular and submolecular scales. This fundamental knowledge will enable mechanism-based engineering of molecular recognition and device performance that is required for space missions.
Investigators: Ye, Martini

Nanoparticle Assemblies for Sensing

We are developing novel materials to for sensors that detect chemical and biochemical analytes or magnetic fields. We are synthesizing nanoparticles of controlled shapes with novel optical properties. Our new nanoscale templates are being used to gain better control over the spatial arrangement of these nanoparticles.
Investigators: Zhang, Ye, Ghosh

Integrated Sensing Platforms

Leveraging our unique capabilities in probing and controlling the recognition element as well as forming precision assemblies of nanoparticles, MACES faculty are developing compact, lightweight sensing devices that integrate novel surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy substrates with a photonic fiber-based Raman detection system. In collaboration with NASA Ames, we are harnessing our molecular-level knowledge of the recognition element to develop robust nanosensors arrays to monitor the effects of space radiation on human health.
Investigators: Ye, Zhang