At first glance, he looks like your average Joe. Dr Robert Okojie is ” The Man Behind NASA Success Stories” has numerous engineering contributions to high temperature aerospace technologies, in particular, electronic devices based on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors. These techniques are now being licensed for use by a leading manufacturer of microsensors.
He has extended his silicon carbide expertise to batch fabrication of silicon carbide laminates for advanced fuel injectors that satisfy international civil aviation standards. His advance enables the use of this high performance semiconductor in the active control of engine combustion. He has even developed the first accelerated stress test protocol published in the IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium, the venue by which reliability testing is accepted by world industry.
These are the latest in an impressive list of Dr. Okojie’s achievements. Among his past successes, he demonstrated the world’s first thermally stable ohmic contact metallization on silicon carbide at record breaking temperatures for extended periods of time. In turn, this paved the way for high temperature sensors and electronics at these temperatures that can substantially improve safety and efficiency, as well as directly impacting the air quality around airports.
His many patented device contributions extend to numerous MEMS structures that can reduce air and noise pollution, provide new deep well drilling tools, and supply sensors for the temperature and chemical extremes of aerospace environments. Okojie’s work is a combined effort of the Aviation Safety and Fundamental Aeronautics programs under NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
A descendant of royalty from Nigeria, Okojie came to the United States in 1986 to attend college. After a brief stint at Essex County College, Newark, N.J., he attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology, also in Newark, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s in Electrical Engineering in 1991 and 1993, respectively.
He, continued, and later earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1996. His grandfather, King Ogbidi Okojie of Uromi, Nigeria, was an ardent supporter of higher education. While Okojie has achieved a type of technical celebrity status with his colleagues, after work he is just a regular dad who spends time with his family.
For more information on Glenn’s silicon carbide electronics work, visit http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/SiC
Sources ~ NASA AEROSPACE FRONTIERS