Applied Physics Division Committee


Prof Phil Ferrer

University of the Witwatersrand

Research Interests

Plasma propulsion: Feasibility of a new type of electric propulsion system.

Activities include experimental investigations and construction of mathematical and computational models to determine efficiencies, physical principles and space mission parameters. The aim is the inclusion of such a propulsion system on a functional CubeSat.

Renewable energy: We work on improvements on a receiver for a solar trough systems. Improvements include hyper-concentration of solar beams, cavity type receiver geometries and inclusion of a hot mirror to increase solar to heat efficiencies. Performance is modelled theoretically, experimentally and computationally.

Home page:

Research page:



Prof Ernest van Dyk

Nelson Mandela University


Leader of the Physics Department’s Photovoltaic Research Group (PVRG).

Managing Director of PVinsight (spin-off company), a SANAS-accredited laboratory which conducts quality assurance testing on Photovoltaic modules.

Research Interests

Solar Energy, specialising in Photovoltaics.


Dr Aletta Karsten


SAIP Council Liaison

Prof Trevor Derry

University of the Witwatersrand


DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials (focus area Diamond, Thin Hard Films and Related Materials)

School of Physics, Wits (Materials Physics Research Institute).

Research Interests

Interaction of ion beams with solid surfaces, ion implantation, ion beam analysis, diamond surfaces, other hard materials, radiation damage.

CoE webpage

Manuscript review

Dr Kitessa Roro


Industry Liaison

Dr Frederik Vorster

Nelson Mandela University


Abstract Review

Prof Thulani Hlatshwayo

University of Pretoria


Leader of nuclear materials group and Coordination Committee

PI leader for the SA-JINR collaboration for the Material Research and Nanoscience group

Research Interests

Nuclear materials, Effects of ion irradiation in matter and ion beam analysis.

Google scholar:

Biophysics Liaison

Dr Tjaart Kruger

University of Pretoria

Student Representative

Adiel Holtzhausen

University of Pretoria

MSc student, Clean and Green Energy Research Group,

School of Physics, University of Pretoria

MSc topic: Optimization of processing parameters in the preparation of hematite thin films for PEC device

Supervisor: Prof Mmantsae Diale

Research project is on the influence that various processing parameters have on hematite thin films, for applications in photoelectrochemical water splitting.

Dr Alan Matthews

Prof Alan Matthews

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Research Interests

Interests in Applied Physics include research using computational methods applied to HIV-AIDS epidemiology, as well as research in bibliometrics, solar energy, and solar radiometry.