Prof Dirk de Villiers: Chair

My research revolves around developing methods for the rapid design of antennas and microwave components.  Specific applications include the design of reflector surfaces and wideband feeds for the MeerKAT and SKA radio telescopes, antenna array systems for radar and space communication systems, as well as power combiners for solid state amplifier and antenna array systems.  These design problems are normally difficult to solve since they are high dimensional, non-linear and typically slow to evaluate (through computer simulations).  We therefore use several methods from the surrogate modelling, interpolation, and optimization fields to find optimal designs for high performance high frequency antenna and microwave structures.

Prof Matthys Botha: Staff

My students and I work in the field of computational electromagnetics. We develop custom numerical methods to efficiently and accurately solve specific classes of challenging electromagnetic field problems, relating to engineering applications of interest.  This work brings together knowledge of applied mathematics, software development and electromagnetic field theory.

Dr Jacki Gilmore: Staff

My area of research is primarily focussed on antennas and the various activities involved with the design, deployment and operation of large antenna arrays.  This includes the development of efficient design techniques and evaluation of the applicability of the techniques for a given structure.  The main applications for the research are radio astronomy and communication systems.

Dr Danie Ludick: Staff

My research is focussed on computational electromagnetics (CEM), specifically the development of fast and accurate solvers. Acceleration strategies include both hardware acceleration (using e.g. distributed/shared memory programming paradigms, GPUs and FPGAs) as well as algorithm development such as domain decomposition approaches. The application of the work is driven by the analysis of electrically large structures, e.g. finite antenna arrays such as those used in the MeerKAT and SKA radio telescopes.

Prof Petrie Meyer: Staff

My research covers the fields of passive microwave devices, such as receiver and transmitter sub-systems, and antennas. Current work focuses on defensive jamming systems and RADAR sub-systems for local industry, wi-fi antenna design, antennas for the Square Kilometre Array, and satellite receivers and transmitters for cube-sats.

Dr Carlo van Niekerk: Staff

My research focuses on the analysis and design of electrically small antennas and array systems. Recently I have been involved in passive microwave circuits for beamforming and balanced antenna feeds (Marchand Balun). My research background has been centred on modelling of antenna behaviour in order to better understand the workings and develop design guidelines. My research interests are also informed from my more than 3 years’ work experience in the commercial electronics industry where antenna size, cost and mutual existence in systems are of concern and need for improvement.

Dr Gideon Wiid: Staff

The research field of electromagnetic compatibility, or EMC, deals with the ability of equipment to function properly in its given electromagnetic (EM) environment, and not to cause interference to other equipment in its vicinity. My research deals with this topic in the framework of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) and MeerKAT telescopes, which are highly sensitive and susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). Projects are done in close collaboration to SARAO, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, and EMC consulting companies associated with SARAO. The research covers the development of low-cost interference measurement systems, interference characterisation and direction finding, as well as practical interference mitigation solutions to current SKA EMC challenges.

Prof David Davidson: (Past Chair) Extraordinary Professor

My main research interest through most of my career has been computational electromagnetics and my research contributed to leading commercial software. In recent years, my interests have expanded to include engineering electromagnetics for radio astronomy.

Prof Stefan Wijnholds: Extraordinary Professor

My research revolves around the calibration and system design of radio astronomical phased array systems. The results are / will be applied to modern radio astronomical facilities such as LOFAR, SKA-low and the future Mid-Frequency Aperture Array for the SKA. An interesting feature of phased array systems is their ability to form multiple beams simultaneously. This is bound to revolutionize radio astronomical research, if we can deal with the deluge of data. We thus need to come up with better instrument models, new calibration and imaging algorithms and clever system architectures and array designs.

Dr TJ Phiri: Post-doctoral fellow

Propagation modelling and EM characterisation of dielectric materials

Stanley Kuja: PhD student (Dr Gideon Wiid)

Optimised Impulse Radiating Antenna for Time Domain Metrology

Jan-Willem Steeb: PhD student (Profs David Davidson and Stefan Wijnholds)


Jan-Gerald Bij de Vaate: PhD student (Prof David Davidson)

Expanding the Field of View: Array Design for a Sparse-Regular FFT SKA Radio Telescope

Brandt Klopper: PhD student (Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Antenna elements for sparse-regular aperture arrays

Fahmi Mokhupuki: PhD student (Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Surrogate-based Design and Optimisation of Wideband Feeds for the SKA

Nelis Wilke: PhD student (Dr Jacki Gilmore and Prof Stefan Wijnholds)

Efficient Multi-Beam Gain Pattern Calibration of Antenna Arrays

Matthews Chose: PhD student (Prof Matthys Botha)

Approximate inversion solvers for large-scale antenna arrays analysis

Keshav Sewraj: PhD student (Prof Matthys Botha)

Fast numerical electromagnetic techniques for the analysis of large radio astronomy antenna arrays

Chanel Hannah: MEng student (Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Antenna noise prediction through measurement assisted computational surrogate models

Nancy Omollo: MEng student (Dr Gideon Wiid)

Shielding Effectiveness Investigation Using a Reverberation Chamber

Michael Johnston: MEng student (Dr Carlo van Niekerk and Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Ultra-wideband balun design for the Pyramidal Sinuous Antenna

Christopher Atkinson: MEng student (Dr Gideon Wiid)

UAV Design for Larger-Scale RFI Mapping

Corey Smale: MEng student (Dr Jacki Gilmore)

Thermal Analysis of a Dense Dipole Array for the SKA Mid-Frequency Aperture Array

Scott Kriel: MEng student (Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Antenna Array Calibration using a UAV/Drone

Lydia de Lange: MEng student (Dr Danie Ludick)

Application of Machine Learning for Antenna Array Failure Analysis

Zain de Toit: MEng student (Dr Carlo van Niekerk and Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Manufacturing wideband sinuous antenna reflector feeds

Ntombi Mtetho: MEng student (Dr Danie Ludick)


Jackline Koech: MEng student (Dr Gideon Wiid and Prof Dirk de Villiers)

Hyperband directional EMC antenna design