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Mission

The Department of physics is committed to offering high quality programmes and strives to produce scholars in the field of science and technology. It seeks to contribute to the advancement of multidisciplinary research that will enhance the development of the region and the nation at large and to provide an environment where quality teaching and research in physics can flourish. It endeavors to pursue and create opportunities to render service to the university and the surrounding commmunities.

Overview:

Enrolment of first-year students into the mainstream physics programmes has experienced an upward trend over the years. Service course students from the various science schools outside our own school of Mathematical and Natural Sciences enrol for modules in the department. These are Health, Environmental Science and Agriculture and Forestry.

In the main stream the enrolment increased over the period 2000 to 2010 from 100 to 200. During the same decade, the number of second-year students rose from an average of 30 to 70. However, the service-course enrolment has remained roughly steady at about 280. The big increase in the case of first-year physics majors has been mainly due to a large number of students from the School of Education who have been granted bursaries by the provincial Department of Education in the campaign to recruit more mathematics and physical science teachers for the high schools.

The department has four undergraduate laboratories. The largest of them is dedicated to the use of our 1st-year students whose numbers of late have been hovering in the range 160-180. The second is an optics lab, mainly for the 2nd years. The third lab is meant for various categories of experiments at the second-year level, apart from optics. The fourth is dedicated to the final year undergraduate experiments. The department also has a research laboratory for exclusive use of the honours and masters students who pursue research in solar energy. In renewable energy research many pieces of equipment are used for outdoor field study and located at the Vuwani Science Resource Centre some 50 km away from the main campus.

History of the Physics Department

The Physics Department was established in 1985, with Prof DS Emmerson as head. He was assisted by AM Gohil who was to remain for the next twenty four years on the academic staff. Initially the department offered four-year programmes but these were subsequently reduced to three-year programmes. The Honours, MSc and PhD programmes were developed in 1999 following the new SAQA, CHE and DoE guidelines Univen pays special attention to students unprepared for university. In study fields of an applied nature (like Physics), Univen puts special emphasis on training students to solve problems.

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Staff of the Physics Department in 2011. Standing l to r: Prof V Sankaran, Dr D Tinarwo, Mr L Jhamba, Dr JK Kirui and Mrs TS Mulaudzi. Sitting l to r: Mr F Nemangwele, Mr VM Nekhubvi and Dr NE Maluta.

Full Time Physics Academic Staff

Below is a list of the lecturing staff members of the physics department, in chronological order of appointment. For each, the period of tenure and the final or current teaching position is indicated.

Prof DS Emmerson 1985- 1986Professor
Prof AM Gohil1986 – 2009Associate Professor
Prof IP Matamba1992 – 2008Associate Professor
Mr VM Tshivhase1992 – 1999Lecturer
Prof V Sankaran1998 - 2008Professor
Mr GD Djolov1998 – 2003Associate Professor
Mr OO Nubi1999 – 2000Lecturer
Dr JK Kirui2008 – to dateSenior Lecturer
Mr KP Mutshena2003 – 2007Junior Lecturer
Mr L Jhamba2008 – to date Lecturer
Dr D Tinarwo2008 – to dateLecturer
Mr F Nemangwele2010 – to date Lecturer
MrsTS Mulaudzi2010 – to dateJunior Lecturer

After the first HoD, Professor Emmerson (1985), Dr AM Gohil became the HoD during 1986 -1996, who was succeeded by Dr IP Matamba for the period 1996-1999. Prof V Sankaran took over as HoD for the next eight years (1999-2007), after which he relinquished the headship in order to devote his energies to running the Vuwani Science Centre. Prof AM Gohil then again took over from 2007-2008, after which Dr JK Kirui became the current HoD from January 2009.

The following modules are offered in the Department of Physics:

Undergraduate Modules
PHY 0541 Mechanics and Heat
PHY 0526 Introduction to Physics for Health Science
PHY 0642 Optics and Electricity
PHY 1521 Mechanics
PHY 1522 Waves and Optics
PHY 1525 Mechanics, PMR and Thermal Physics
PHY 1623 Properties of Matter and Thermal Physics
PHY 1624 Electricity and Magnetism
PHY 1625 Optics, electricity and modern Physics
PHY1626 Physics for Health Sciences
PHY 2521 Classical Mechanics
PHY 2523 Waves and Optics
PHY 2623 Electrodynamics
PHY 2625 Relativity and Quantum Physics
PHY 3521 Atomic and Nuclear Physics
PHY 3522 Solid State Physics
PHY 3625 Electronics
PHY 3623 Thermal and Statistical Physics
PHY 3624 Quantum Mechanics
PHY 3526 Energy Physics
PHY 3627 Research Project
PHY 3625 Electronics

Higher Degrees (Honours, Masters and Doctoral)

Honours Programme Modules

Prerequisite

An average of 60% in Physics third year modules or its equivalent gained elsewhere with sufficient mathematics background. In marginal cases, additional selection criteria will be used to admit a student into honours programme.

Duration

The Honours programme extends over a period of one year of full-time study or a period of two years of part-time study. The Department offers honours programme in solar energy and in theoretical physics. In order to qualify for the degree a student must pass at least eight modules. The core modules and optional modules offered in an academic year vary depending on the staffing situation in the department. The students are advised to consult the head of the department about the modules offered for different specialization.

The following is a list of the modules available; the core modules are always offered whereas the non-core may be offered. The general prerequisite to enrol for the modules is as per the admission requirements of the school of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Additional prerequisites for the modules offered in the second semester is given after the individual module in the list.

Honours Programme Modules
PHY 5521 Classical Mechanics (core)
PHY 5522 Quantum Mechanics I (core)
PHY 5523 Solid State Physics I (core)
PHY 5524 Renewable Energy
PHY5525 Mathemateical Methods of Physics
PHY5526 Laser Physics I
PHY5527 Electronics
PHY 5621 Electrodynamics (core)
PHY 5622 Statistical Mechanics (core)
PHY 5623 Project (core)
PHY 5624 Solid State Physics II . Prerequisite: PHY5523
PHY 5625 Quantum Mechanics II. Prerequisite: PHY5522
PHY 5626 Laser Physics II. Prerequisite: PHY5526
PHY 5627 Nuclear and Particle Physics. Prerequisite: PHY5522

Masters Programme
PHY 6000 Research Project
Prerequisite Satisfactory completion of B.Sc. (Hons) in Physics or any other equivalent qualification

Doctorate Programme
PHY 7000 Research Project
Prerequisite Satisfactory completion of M.Sc. in Physics or any other equivalent qualification

Dr JK Kirui
Position Senior lecturer and Head of Department
Qualifications BScHons (Nairobi), MSc(British Columbia), PhD (Witwatersrand)
Phone +27 15 962 8522
Email Joseph.Kirui@univen.ac.za

Research Interests:

  • Investigation of defects in solids using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR).
  • Physical properties of nanomaterials.

Publications:

  1. J.K .Kirui, J.A. van Wyk, and M.J.R. Hoch, Dynamics of negatively charged divacancy centers in neutron irradiated type Ib diamond (ACCEPTED on 15 Aug 2013 for publication in Diamond and Related Materials )
  2. D. C. Hunt, D. J. Twitchen, M. E. Newton, J. M. Baker, J. K. Kirui, J. A. van Wyk, T. R. Anthony, and W. F. Banholzer . EPR data on the self-interstitial complex O3 in diamond Phys. Rev. B 62, 6587-6597 (2000)
  3. J. K. Kirui, J. A. van Wyk and M. J. R. Hoch ESR studies of the negative divacancy in irradiated type-I diamonds Diamond and Related Materials, Volume 8, Issues 8-9, 1999, Pages 1569-1571
  4. JK Kirui, C L Ma, D Weih and C F Schwerdtsfeger ESR study of DMTM(TCNQ)2 Solid State Communications, Volume 74, Issue 6, May 1990, Pages 451-453

Conferences and Conference Proceedings

  1. The 6th EBASI International Conference on Physics and technology for Sustainable development ( EBASI2007); iThemba Labs, Cape Town Jan.22-26 2007 Participation: Poster presentation of a paper titled: "Vacancy-associated EPR centres in irradiated type Ib diamond"
  2. International Conference on the Defects of Insulating Materials, Midrand, Johannesburg, 2000 Participation: Oral presentation of a paper titled: "The negative divacancy in diamond"
  3. International Symposium on New Diamond Structure and Technology 31 August – 4 September 1998, Pretoria Participation: Poster presentation of a paper titled: "The ESR centres in diamond"
  4. Diamond Conference, University of London, Holloway July 1998 Participation: Oral presentation of a short paper: "Some radiation defects in type Ib diamond"
  5. NRF/DST Centres of Excellence Conference, Pretoria 13 November 2012 Nominated to prepare and present a NITheP stakeholder talk which was subsequently given on my behalf by Dean of Mathematical and Naturals Sciences, Prof JE Crafford
  6. 45th South African Institute of Physics Conference, RAU 2000 Participation: Oral presentation entitled: "Linewidths, Spin Relaxation and Power Saturation of some Vacancy- associated EPR Centres in Type Ib Diamonds"
  7. 44th South African Institute of Physics Conference, UPE 1999 Participation: Oral presentation entitled: "Negative Divacancy EPR Centre in Irradiated Diamond".
  8. 42nd South African Institute of Physics Conference, UD Westville 1997 Participation: Poster presentation entitled: "EPR studies of Irradiation Damage Centres in Diamond"

Other interests:

Learning Languages of Southern Africa especially Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Sepedi and isiZulu.


Prof. V. Sankaran
Position : Professor in Physics
Qualifications : BSc, MSc, PhD(Anamali, India)
Phone : +2715 9628369
Email : vaith@univen.ac.za

Research interests:

  • Molecular dynamics
  • Renewable energy
  • Physics Education
  • Community engagement through the Vuwani Science Centre

Selected Publications:

  1. NE Maluta, TS Mulaudzi and V Sankaran Estimation of Global Solar Radiation on Horizontal Surface from Temperature Data for Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Accepted for publication in International Journal of Green Energy. (2013) (In press)
  2. T.S. Mulaudzi, V. Sankaran and M.D. Lysko. Solar radiation analysis and regression coefficients for Vhembe Region of Limpopo province in South Africa, (Revised version sent for publication to Journal of energy in South Africa, (2013)).
  3. N. E. Maluta and V.Sankaran Outdoor testing of amorphous and crystalline solar panels at Thohoyandou.Journal of Energy in Southern Africa- Vol 22 No.3, 16, (2011).
  4. V. Sankaran, Renewable energy". A chapter in the book on "Green Chemistry in Africa" published by IUPAC & ANCA, Italy. ISBN: 8888214070, Pages 121 – 136, (2008).
  5. V. Sankaran. Technology transfer for poverty reduction in energy sector. Technical report to DST/CSIR. (2006).

Conferences and conference proceedings

  • Estimation of Global Solar Radiation on the Horizontal Surface from the Temperature Data for Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa. T.S. Mulaudzi, E.N. Maluta and V. Sankaran
    Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
  • Evaluation, Sizing and Cost Analysis of a PV array for Rural Development in Vuwani area, Vhembe District, Limpopo, South Africa E. N. Maluta, N. Nkhumeleni, T.S. Mulaudzi and V. Sankaran Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
  • Analysis of the peak power of a photovoltaic array system under outdoor conditions V M Nekhubvi and V Sankaran
    Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
  • Characteristics Evaluations and Analysis of a Photovoltaic Module under Partial Shaded Conditions F. Nemangwelea, N.E. Maluta, and V. Sankaran
    Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012).
  • Analysis of the solar radiation data and determination of the regression coefficients for the Vhembe region of Limpopo province, south Africa. T.S. Mulaudzi, V. Sankaran and M.D. Lysko 57th annual SAIP conference at University of Pretoria, Page 126 (2012
  • Measuring multiple components of solar energy, MD Lysko, TS Mulaudzi, U Feister and V Sankaran. 4th IUPAP International conference on Women in Physics at Cape Town , Page 213, (2011).
  • Effect of shading on the performance of a photovoltaic module. K.P. Mutshena, M.N. Khwanda, N.E. Maluta and V. Sankaran. South African Institute of Physics National conference proceedings and abstracts, Page 134, (2005).
  • Onsite measurement on crystalline and amorphous PV modules at Thohoyandou. N. E. Maluta and V.Sankaran, Presented at the SAIP conference at University of Pretoria during 5-7 July 2005.
  • The performance of photovoltaic modules at the experimental site. N. E. Maluta and ,V. Sankaran. South African Institute of Physics National conference proceedings and abstracts, Page 136, (2003).

  • Dr D Tinarwo
    Position : Lecturer
    Qualifications : Licenciate in Education in Physics (Lic.Ed), (Superior Pedagogical Institute "José Varona" La Havana); BSc(Hons), M.Sc, (Zimbabwe);Doctor of Engineering (Dr. Ing)(Kassel)
    Phone : +27 15 962 8918
    +27 82 5496723
    Email : dtinarwo@yahoo.co.uk
    david.tinarwo@univen.ac.za

    Research Interests

    • Photovoltaic, biogas technology, wind, biofuels and concentrating solar power for electricity generation.
    • Power electronics - microcontrollers,
    • Grid connection of Renewable energy technologies

    Journal Publications

    1. R. Mukaro and D. Tinarwo, "Performance evaluation of a hot-box reflector solar cooker using a microcontroller-based measurement system", International Journal of Energy Research, Volume 32, Issue 14 , pp1339 – 1348
    2. R. Mukaro, B. M. Taele and D. Tinarwo, "In situ measurement of the energy gap of a semiconductor using a microcontroller-based system" European Journal of Physics, Volume 27, Number 23, page 531-538, 2006

    Books and Techical reports

    1. D. Tinarwo, "Design of village power and micro-grids for rural areas of Zimbabwe with specific attention to voltage regulation on low voltage meshed distribution grids", PhD Theses, Kassel University Press GmbH, Kassel 2009.
    2. D. Tinarwo et al. "Implications of line parameters on Microsource controller algorithms". A technical report on the Deliverable DA5: "Microsource local controllers capable to deal with resistive and inductive coupling of interconnecting lines" of the EU project: Advanced Architectures and Control Concepts for MORE MICROGRIDS, ContractNo: SES6-019864, 2009 http://www.microgrids.eu/documents/636.pdf)

    Conferences and Conference proceedings

    1. Potential of waste to useful energy conversion in rural community set-up: Case of Mepuzi community Biogas project in rural communities of Chicualacuala Mozambique. June 2010, Kassel, Germany.
    2. African Union Conference of Ministers In Charge Of Energy 1-5 November 2010 Maputo, Mozambique.
    3. International Energy and Power Conference and Exhibition 27 - 29 September 2011, Rainbow Tower Hotel, Harare (In Zimbabwe's First International Energy and Power Conference and Exhibition 27 - 29 September 2011, : attended as a guest speaker.)
    4. Global South-South Development Expo of the United Nations (GSSD 2011), 5-9 December 2011, Rome, Italy, 2011
    5. DAAD Alumni Summer-School, June 2012, Cottbus, Germany
    6. Renewable energy workshop, Limpopo LED Resource Centre, Pietersburg Club 12th February 2013
    7. Developing a Green Economy: Renewable Energy, Climate Change and Social Justice, 19th – 20th February 2013, UNISA, PRETORIA

    Present projects

    Presently he is principal researcher on two collaborative research projects:
    1. "Improving the livestock carrying capacity with rainwater harvesting and conservation on grasslands for extensive and/or intensive livestock production and biogas generation from manure in rural areas of South Africa", (collaborating with Universities of KwaZulu Natal, and Rhodes with Agama Biogas Technology company – funded by the Water Research Commission of South Africa".
    2. "Towards a Technology Specific Innovation System for Harnessing Waste-Based Bioenergy" from South Africa's "Global Change Grand Challenge National Research Plan," of the Department of Science and Technology's "Global Change, Society and Sustainability Research Programme". Funded by the Department of Science and Technology and managed by the National Research Fund.

    Mr L Jhamba
    Position : Lecturer
    Qualifications : BSc(Hons), BEd, MSc (Physics), MSc(Renewable Energy) (University of Zimbabwe)
    Phone : +27 15 962 8908(W)
    : +073 133 1118
    Email : Lordwell.Jhamba@univen.ac.za
    : lordwell.jhamba@students.wits.ac.za
    : lordwellzmd@yahoo.co.uk

    Research Interests:

    Condensed matter physics and materials, with focus on the physics of organic photovoltaics.

    Publications

    1. Jhamba L and Chagwedera S "Estimation of Solar Radiation from Meteorological Parameters. Paper published in the Research Council of Zimbabwe Journal, Volume IIIB Proceedings of Third Symposium on Science and Technology – Innovation, Self-Reliance and Development, 6 – 8th October 1992).
    2. Chiguvare Z, Jhamba L and Wamwangi D, Charge injection at metal – polymer interfaces: an experimental investigation into why the efficiency of organic solar cells is low at high incident light intensities. – In Press.

    Other Research Interests

    • Utilisability – Photovoltaic concentrators
    • Economic Analysis of Renewable Energy Systems
    • Grid–connected Photovoltaic Concentrator Systems
    • Potentialities of Wind, Geothermal and Wave Energy

    Conference and Conference proceedings

    1. The 2012 annual South African Institute of Physics at the University of Pretoria from 9th July to 13th July 2012 . Gave oral presentation of the paper entitled "Charge injection at metal polymer interfaces.".
    2. UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge – Second Regional Research Seminar for Africa 22-24 March2007 in Accra, Ghana.
    3. Attended the MERCK (Pty) Ltd seminar on Laboratory Safety and Chemical Grades at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School – 14th September 2011. (Ref. attached certificate)
    4. Attended Photonic workshop for the inclusion of Laser Physics modules at undergraduate and honours levels in South Africa's universities. The workshop was held CSIR in Pretoria (2011).
    5. Attended one day workshop (CSIR-Photonics Division) on Photonics curriculum development and implementation. (May 2012)
    6. Attended the Attachment Programme (24 November 2003 to 03 December 2003) hosted by The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Education Programme and The Wildlife and Environment Society of Southern Africa. The attachment was at Umgeni Valley, Howick, South Africa.

    Other Research Interests

    • Utilisability – Photovoltaic concentrators
    • Economic Analysis of Renewable Energy Systems
    • Grid–connected Photovoltaic Concentrator Systems
    • Potentialities of Wind, Geothermal and Wave Energy

    Mr F. Nemangwele
    Position : Lecturer
    Qualifications : BSc (UNIVEN), BSc (Hons), MSc (Univ of the Western Cape)
    Phone : +27 15 962 8276
    Email : Nemangwele@univen.ac.za

    Research Interests:

    Enviromental and Nuclear Radiation

    Conferences and conference proceedings

    1. Characteristics Evaluations and Analysis of a Photovoltaic Module under Partial Shaded Conditions F. Nemangwelea, N.E. Maluta, and V. Sankaran
      Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012).

    Dr NE Maluta
    Position : Principal Technician
    Qualifications : BSc , BSc(Hons) (Univ of the North), MSc(UNIVEN), PhD (Bath)
    Phone : +27 15 962 8162
    Email : Eric.Maluta@univen.ac.za

    Research Interests

    1. Transport processes in Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSCs)
    2. Theoretical study of Solar Radiation pattern to predict climate change

    Recent Publications

    1. In Situ Detection of Free and Trapped Electrons in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells by Photo-Induced Microwave Reflectance Measurements Halina K. Dunn, Laurence M. Peter, Stephen J. Bingham, E. Maluta, and Alison B. Walker The Journal of Physical Chemistry C2012116 (41), 22063-22072
    2. E. Maluta and V. Sankaran. "Outdoor testing of amorphous and crystalline silicon solar panels at Thohoyandou." Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 22.3 (2011): 17.

    Conference and Conference proceedings

    1. Estimation of Global Solar Radiation on the Horizontal Surface from the Temperature Data for Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa. T.S. Mulaudzi, E.N. Maluta and V. Sankaran
      Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
    2. Evaluation, Sizing and Cost Analysis of a PV array for Rural Development in Vuwani area, Vhembe District, Limpopo, South Africa E. N. Maluta, N. Nkhumeleni, T.S. Mulaudzi and V. Sankaran
      Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
    3. Characteristics Evaluations and Analysis of a Photovoltaic Module under Partial Shaded Conditions F. Nemangwelea, N.E. Maluta, and V. Sankaran
      Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012).
    4. Effect of shading on the performance of a photovoltaic module. K.P. Mutshena, M.N. Khwanda, N.E. Maluta and V. Sankaran. South African Institute of Physics National conference proceedings and abstracts, Page 134, (2005).
    5. Onsite measurement on crystalline and amorphous PV modules at Thohoyandou. N. E. Maluta and V.Sankaran, Presented at the SAIP conference at University of Pretoria during 5-7 July 2005.
    6. The performance of photovoltaic modules at the experimental site. N. E. Maluta and V. Sankaran. South African Institute of Physics National conference proceedings and abstracts, Page 136, (2003).

    Membership

    Junior Associate – National Institute of Theoretical Physics (NITHEP).
    Mrs TS Mulaudzi
    Position : Junior Lecturer
    Qualifications : BEd (UNIVEN), BScHons (UNIVEN), MSc(UNIVEN
    Phone : +27 15 962 8390
    Email : Sophie.Mulaudzi@univen.ac.za

    Publications:

    1. NE Maluta, TS Mulaudzi and V Sankaran Estimation of Global Solar Radiation on Horizontal Surface from Temperature Data for Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
      ACCEPTED for publication in International Journal of Green Energy. (2013)
    2. T.S. Mulaudzi, V. Sankaran and M.D. Lysko. Solar radiation analysis and regression coefficients for Vhembe Region of Limpopo province in South Africa, (Revised version sent for publication to Journal of energy in South Africa, (2013)).

    Conferences and Conference Proceedings

    1. Evaluation of solar irradiance in the selected locations in the Vhembe district of the Limpopo province of South Africa. T.S. Mulaudzi, V. Sankaran and E.N. Maluta Energy Post-graduate conference (EPC 2013) (Page 55) at iThemba labs, Cape Town (2013).
      Certificate award: Best Oral Presenter.
    2. Evaluation of different models for the computation of regression coefficients to arrive at the global solar radiation data in the climatic condition of Vhembe district of Limpopo in South Africa. E.N. Maluta, F. Nemangwele, L. Takalani, T.S. Mulaudzi and V. Sankaran Energy Post-graduate conference 2013 (Page 64) at iThemba labs, Cape Town (2013)
    3. Estimation of Global Solar Radiation on the Horizontal Surface from the Temperature Data for Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa. T.S. Mulaudzi, E.N. Maluta and V. Sankaran
      Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
    4. Evaluation, Sizing and Cost Analysis of a PV array for Rural Development in Vuwani area, Vhembe District, Limpopo, South Africa E. N. Maluta, N. Nkhumeleni, T.S. Mulaudzi and V. Sankaran
      Proceedings of ASSAF conference (CD), Pretoria (2012)
    5. Analysis of the solar radiation data and determination of the regression coefficients for the Vhembe region of Limpopo province, south Africa. T.S. Mulaudzi, V. Sankaran and M.D. Lysko 57th annual SAIP conference at University of Pretoria, Page 126 (2012
    6. Measuring multiple components of solar energy, MD Lysko, TS Mulaudzi, U Feister and V Sankaran. 4th IUPAP International conference on Women in Physics at Cape Town , Page 213, (2011).

    Other interests:

    Material Sciences