sam1 copy

About Dr. Sam

Dr. Sam Kassegne holds a Ph.D. degree in engineering mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His research interests are in the areas of MEMS, polymer photovoltaic technology, bionanoelectronics, and NeuroMEMS. His lab has a strong focus on developing the next generation of integrated micro- and nano-lithography technology for a variety of application areas.  Dr. Kassegne has an extensive industrial experience in MEMS, biotech and computational sciences acquired through his employment at Nanogen, Microfabrica and Bentley Systems in Southern California. He also has consulted for Nokia, SAIC, Nevada NanoTech, NexoGen, OxyHeal, ERC, OmniTech, OHOA, KeyMark Engineering, Game Changers, SEFS, Cooley LLP, and Corning/Intellisense. Further, as evidenced by the breadth and depth of his publication records and the companies he has consulted for, Dr. Kassegne has a unique engineering background that spans a variety of engineering disciplines. Dr. Kassegne’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, DoE, DoD (SPAWAR), San Diego Foundation, Amco, and others.

mems (1)


We are a research group in the Mechanical Engineering Department of San Diego State University in southern California.  Our diverse team of researchers includes mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineers as well as bioengineers. Our research areas include MEMS, micro- and nano-fabrication, bionanoelectronics, microfluidics/nanofluidics, polymer-based photovoltaic technology, and computational sciences.

Our group collaborates with researchers at our institution and other national MEMS programs (including the various academic and industrial groups that spun-off the core Nanogen technology). We also have an active international program involving seminars and exchange visits. Our extended class 100 cleanroom facility (MicroFab & NanoFab Facility) (1600 sq. ft.) is equipped for most lithography processes including metal deposition, dry (DRIE) and wet etching, soft lithography, as well as characterizations including 0.25 micron resolution deep UV lithography capability with Micrascan III step and scan litho system. We also have a brand new 400 sq.ft. organic solar processing, packaging and testing facility.

(I) NeuroMEMS Group (link)
Together with our collaborators at UW and MIT, we are working on flexible microelectrode neural pad that can be implanted in the brain to record data and/or stimulate specific sites. The function of the microelectrode neural pad is to sense signals from the motor cortex and then relay those signals to a small integrated circuit (IC) located on the back side electrodes. The IC then wirelessly communicates with a prosthetic or robotic limb in a closed loop manner.

(II) BioNanoelectronics Group (link)
This group is investigating the feasibility and long-term stability of DNA-based bionanoelectronics platform. This platform consists off DNA molecular wires and interconnects attached to carbon/graphite microelectrodes. The boarder impact of this study is in developing nanoscale modulation of electrochemistry and electric-fields that will form basis for advancing our knowledge in large-scale bio-nanoelectronics as well as electrochemistry and electrostatics at a sub-micron-scale.

(III) Polymer Solar Cell Group (link)
Using a new device architecture with light-trapping features, we have developed a new generation of polymer-based solar cells and OLED. The group also uses computational photovoltaics to develop new insights and fundamental understanding of interfacial issues between photoactive layers and electrode materials. Together with our collaborators, Dr. Kee Moon and Dr. Khaled Morsi, our work in this area has resulted in a number of patents and a licensing agreement with a company in South Korea.

(IV) Nanofabrictaion Group

We are working on innovative hierarchical micro- and nano-fabrication technologies. One approach we are pursuing is IMN-litho (Integrated Micro/nano) lithography that shows promise in machining chips with both micro and nano features on the same substrate. Potential applications include bio-chips, sensors, microfluidic chips, and microarrays with a hierarchy of feature sizes starting from nanometer-level to sub-micron, micron and sub-mm interface to the outside world.

(V) Computational Group
We have very active research in (i) computational electrochemistry for micro- and nano-electrochemical systems, and (ii) computational photovoltaics to drive our experimental work in organic PV technology. Our work in electrochemistry of micro- and sub-micron systems has resulted in a number of publications.



1. Our Lab is featured regarding renewal of NSF funding for CSNE.

2. Publications updates:

(a) NeuroMEMS Group publishes in JMM & JME.

(i) J of Micro Machines and Micro Engineering,
(ii) J Microelectronics Engineering
(iii) Book chapter on use of GC for neural probes.

(b) Microfluidics Group (with collaborators at Biology Dept) publishes in PNAS. Link.

3. Our latest paper on Bionanoelectronics published by ECS ‘link‘.

4. Our Lab wins a research cooperative agreement contract with SPAWAR Systems Center San Diego (SSC Pacific). April-June 2014. Also in 2013.

5. Key-Note talks: ECS at SF. SPIE at SD.

6. Our paper on organic solar cell published in JMM is selected as ‘Highlights of 2012‘ & also featured at IEEE MEMS.

7. MEMS Lab is part of $18.5 million NSF ERC on sensorimotor neural engineering. Our partner institutions are University of Washington and MIT. Dr. Kassegne is Thrust Leader.

8. Coverage by San Diego Union Tribune   Coverage by SDSU News Center

9. Coverage by Newspaper from Mexico & Latin AmericaCoverage by SDSU NewsCoverage by VonLiebig Center – UCSD.

10. Shanel Miller, Beejal Mehta, Mihir Parikh, Mieko Hirabayashi, and Kadir Toksoy win a DOE-sponsored renewable energy fellowship.