Research activities cover the areas of antennas and propagation, numerical methods for solving complex electromagnetic field problems, microwave systems and devices, RADAR, electromagnetic compatibility and superconducting circuits.
This division’s research activities receive financial support from the NRF and several companies in the private sector. A specific, significant source of funding is the SKA SARCHI research chair.
More details on the main research focus areas within this division are listed below.
Electromagnetic structures can become exceeding complex to analyse or design analytically and measurement of structures in the microwave regime and beyond can be exceedingly expensive. Computational electromagnetics (CEM) is concerned with the numerical solution of Maxwell’s equations, in order to simulate electromagnetic field behaviour and consequently the performance of electromagnetic structures. CEM is a crucial enabling technology for radio frequency, microwave and wireless engineering, as well as being a technology in its own right. All widely-used CEM methods are of interest to us, including the finite element method (FEM), method of moments (MoM), finite difference time domain method (FDTD), as well as asymptotic methods and hybrid methods. We closely interact with EM Software & Systems – S.A., developers of the EM simulation software suite FEKO.
Contact Prof. Matthys Botha for more information on this research activity.
High frequency (HF) metrology is concerned with reliable measurements at high frequencies using the following:
A key feature of metrology is that of calibration. In this regard we have active relationships with standards bodies in South Africa and also with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado.
General research topics are listed under the current and recent past postgraduate programmes on the postgraduate and bursary page of Prof. Howard Reader. Contact Prof. Howard Reader for more information on this research activity.
Areas of interest include microstrip antennas for satellite communications, spiral antennas for ground penetration and borehole radar, wave propagation in complex electromagnetic environments, free-space and near-field measurement techniques, the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
Facilities include a microwave anechoic chamber for antenna measurements, a Gaussian microwave optics test bench for the measurement of material properties and across-the-board measuring facilities up to 50GHz.
Contact Dr. Dirk de Villiers for more information on this research activity.
This research activity focuses on the design of active components such as low-phase noise oscillators and phase-locked loops typically used in radars, low noise and high power amplifiers and microwave sensors. High-speed, multi-channel QPSK data transmitters and receivers are developed for satellite applications. A strong modelling and measurement expertise is available, involving close interaction with local radar and avionics industries.
Contact Prof. Johann de Swardt for more information on this research activity.
This activity concerns the design, electromagnetic analysis and optimisation of passive microwave circuits such as filters, couplers, high power combiners, etc. In terms of component design, current research focuses on high-power devices at X-band, including power combiners and PIN diode switches, with specific attention to new structures and topologies. Antenna feed design for the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT) is also included in this research. On a systems level, millimetre-wave imaging at 35 and 94GHz has emerged as a strong international focus due to its applications to security. This research is undertaken at a systems level as well as a device level, with the aim of finding cost-effective solutions to industry problems. In terms of modelling, the focus is on adaptively sampled interpolation-based mathematical models of microwave structures. This type of model can be constructed by using very few electromagnetic analysis points, and can be used to great effect in the optimisation of circuits containing these structures.
Contact: Prof. Petrie Meyer for more information on this research activity.
As part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARCHI), Prof. David Davidson has been appointed as the SKA SARCHI research chair. This chair funds a wide range of research activities within the Electronics and Electromagnetics division, all related to the SKA project. The SKA is an ambitious project to construct the world’s largest ever radio telescope, right here in South Africa. The aim of the chair is to support the SKA-related electromagnetic engineering work here in South Africa as closely as possible, and to simultaneously use this as a vehicle for world-class research in the field.
Contact Prof. David Davidson for more information on this research activity.
In the superconducting field emphasis is placed on the design, simulation and fabrication of practical devices such as magnetic field sensors (SQUIDs), superconducting microwave filters, and superfast logic switching circuits utilizing Josephson junctions as active building blocks.
Facilities include network and spectrum analysers, a screened room, SQUID magnetometers, and a cryogenic measurement system for the evaluation of superconducting devices at temperatures as low as -269 degrees Celsius.
Visit the Superconductivity and Nano-Devices (SAND) website for more information.
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We study computational methods of finding numerical solutions to Maxwell’s equations. Our interests include the application of Finite Element Method (FEM), Method of Moments (MoM) and Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) techniques to high frequency electromagnetic field problems, with typical application to antenna and microwave engineering.
November 30, 2016 – December 2, 2016
November 21, 2016 – November 25, 2016