Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
FIELDS OF RESEARCH
The Department has four main areas of research which are investigated by research groups.
This group specialises in control, automation and system identification for a variety of platforms: e.g. underwater vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), airships and satellites. The group's research activities take place in the Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL), the birthplace of SUNSAT, South Africa's first satellite. Real-time computer applications and FPGA-based architectures are generally used. Other research topics include biomedical electronics and process control.
The research focuses on electric energy conversion and control in renewable energy and power systems. Internationally recognised research is done on inter alia multi-level power electronic converters, permanent magnetic electrical machines, high-voltage insulators, power system dynamics and parameter estimation, with applications in for example wind and wave energy, free-piston Stirling engines, electrical vehicles and energy efficiency.
Research in this area is focused on high-frequency applications in communication systems and RADAR, and includes activities on antennas, superconductor devices, electromagnetic interference, filters and nonlinear circuits. A near-field antenna laboratory, supported by appropriate instrumentation and software, provides the infrastructure for work in the areas of computational electromagnetics and antennas, and enjoys widespread recognition. Several members of the group are actively engaged in the design and building of the antenna, feed structure and RF interference minimisation policy for the section of the Square Kilometer Array recently awarded to South Africa. This forms the largest RF and microwave academic team in South Africa.
The signal processing group focuses its research on pattern recognition techniques which may be applied, among other things, to the automatic processing of human speech, and also to the development of digital radar and broadcasting systems. The emphasis is on the application of statistical decision making to the processing of information from sensors and automatic interpretation of real world data. The group largely makes use of Linux-based computer networks available for the development of software as well as the design of signal processing hardware.