Our News

Congratulations are in order!

by Michael de Oliveira | June 7, 2019 | News

Please join us in congratulating Nokwazi on her selection as the winner of the 2018 JOSA A Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize! Click here for a link to the editorial introducing the prize.

Our feature in IEEE Photonics Society News

by Chris Ayala | May 14, 2019 | News

For the month of February, IEEE Photonics Society News has featured an article by Prof Forbes on the cover about engineering structured light from lasers. Click on to find out more!

Most Innovative Research in South Africa

by Chris Ayala | Feb 7, 2019 | News

The Innovative project award from the 2018 Excellence Awards has been given to Andrew Forbes and our group. This is a great honor!

Visiting Professor at Chiba University in Japan

by Chris Ayala | Jan 23rd, 2019 | News

Congratulations to Professor Andrew Forbes for receiving the title of visiting professor at Chiba University in Japan!

WITS Student Wins Emerging Researcher Best Paper Prize!

by Michael de Oliveira | May 27, 2019 | News

Congratulations to Nokwazi Mphuthi whose paper, titled “Are Bessel beams resilient to aberrations and turbulence?”, was selected by the editors of the Journal of the Optical Society of America A (JOSA A), as the top paper published in the Journal by an emerging researcher in 2018. The editors were particularly impressed by the originality of the study, the depth of the scientific analysis, and the clarity of presentation. Nokwazi is a PhD student working on using structured light to improve laser ranging efficiency. The project is in collaboration with the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory under the National Research Foundation.

Still making the news!

by Michael de Oliveira | May 14, 2019 | News

Three years later and our review paper on the creation and detection of optical modes with spatial light modulators has become one of the 10 most cited and downloaded article over the past decade, peaking at #1 in 2016.

Research team demonstrates fractal light from lasers

by Chris Ayala | Feb 1, 2019 | News

Hend Soor has completed her PhD on a high note garnering a lot of attention on her work for creating fractal light in lasers! Click the link to check out more about this!

Summa Cum Laude PhD

by Christopher Ayala | May 20, 2019 | News

Congratulations on the newly appointed Doctor Eileen Otte! Eileen was Professor Forbe’s student that he co-supervised along with Professor Cornelia Denz. Eileen has received Summa Cum Laude for her PhD, the the highest award from the university for a PhD student!

Nature Photonics featured our work in its February issue

by Chris Ayala | May 14, 2019 | News

If you want to know more about super-resolution with quantum light, check out our featured article in February’s edition of Nature Photonics. Click the title above to find a link to the article!

Honours students graduate with Distinction

by Michael De Oliveira | May 14, 2019 | News

Honours students, Michael de Oliveira and Stirling Scholes, recently graduated with distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand. Stirling was awarded the Jan Loubser memorial award, it is awarded to the student with the best honours project in Physics. Both students are curently pursuing their Masters in Physics.

2018 News

Champion of Future Champions

by Chris Ayala | Dec 5th, 2018 | News

An article on Professor Forbes and our group has been written in SPIE’s Lasers & Sources page. Check it out now and consider collaborating with us. “That’s really the most important thing in science: collaboration.” – Andrew Forbes

IONS South Africa 2 Best Oral Presentation

by Chris Ayala | Oct 22, 2018 | News

Congratulations to Issac for winning an award for the best oral presentation on self-healing entangled locally entangeled modes for secure communication!

Students win at SAIP

by Melanie McLaren | Jul 25, 2016 | News

Five of our students won prizes at the recent 61st South African Institute of Physics conference held at the University of Cape Town.

From left: Bienvenu Ndagano, Mitchell Cox (back), Gareth Berry (back right), David Gossman (front) and Bereneice Sephton (front right).

2018 SAIP winners

by Ravin Kara | Jul 4, 2018 | News

Bienvenu and Nokwazi won prizes in the Photonics division at the 63nd annual South African Institute of Physics (SAIP) conference hosted at the university of the Free State.


Shedding a new light on optical trapping and tweezing

by Chris Ayala | Oct 28, 2018 | News

We are proud to see our coworker Nkosi Bhebhe succeed in publishing and being recognized by many outlets! Check out the link to see where he has been featured.

Top downloads from August 2018

by Chris Ayala | Sep 28, 2018 | News

August’s top download again features Nokwazi. Congratulations yet again. Her paper talks about resilience of Bessel beams to aberrations and turbulence, check it out!

Making the top 10 downloads

by Ravin Kara | Jul 20, 2018 | News

Once again we are proud of Nokwazi for her paper regarding the resilience of Bessel beams to aberrations and turbulence making it into the top 10 downloads for June.

Bridging the digital divide

by Ravin Kara | Jul 4, 2018 | News

Collaborative work with the school of electrical engineering is contributing to increasing internet access across africa with home-grown photonics technologies. We are concentrating on connecting communities with free space optical (FSO) links.

2018 National Research Foundation Awards

by Chris Ayala | Oct 28, 2018 | News

Professor Andrew Forbes has been renewed as a an A-rated professor for 2018! Congratulations to him, as he has put in a lot of effort to give back to the field of optics this year.

Making it into the Journal of Optics highlights of 2017

by Ravin Kara | Aug 21, 2018 | News

We are delighted that one of our papers has made it into the Journal of optics highlights of 2017.

Andrew invited to give a talk at OECC

by Ravin Kara | Jul 4, 2018 | News

Andrew has been invited to give a talk at the 23rd OptoElectronics and Communications Conference (OECC) in Jeju, Korea.

Making the Editors choice

by Ravin Kara | Jul 4, 2018 | News

We are proud of Nokwazi for her paper regarding the resilience of Bessel beams to aberrations and turbulence making the OSA editors pick.

2017 News

Looking to the skies at HartRoa

by Bereneice Sephton | Nov 3, 2017 | News

We recently visited HartRoa, just outside Johannesburg, SA where space geodesy and astrophysics are the topics of the day – everyday. Here, amongst many other exciting projects, they work with large telescopes to do radiometry, use satellite laser ranging to track satellites and feed into the databases that gives us accurate GPS.

Angela makes SA’s top female researcher list!

by Bereneice Sephton | Sep 18, 2017 | News

We are proud of Angela making it to the top female researcher list in South Africa for physics with the highest citations between 2007 and 2016.
Angela’s response to making the list is: ”I’m honoured that my peers value my scientific contributions. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a dynamic team with ambitious and skilled mentors and team members, who guide and challenge me.”

Physics Bowl triumph

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 14, 2017 | News

The Wits team knocked the competition over at SAIP 2017 Physics Bowl this year with two from our group forming the “Bawsons” team. Armed with shower caps to keep their processors insulated and ‘blend in’ with the steam punk theme (or not), they dominated each round and finished with an inspiring top score.

Photograph: The happy ‘Bawsons’ receiving their hard-earned prizes from Dr. Herman Uys (Stellenbosch University) and a Bluestallion technologies representative. From left (in the shower caps): Stefan von Buddenbrock, Bienvenu Ndagano, Mitchell Cox and Harshna Jivan.

Accepted to the Siegman International School on Lasers

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

Hend, Prince and Mosima will be attending the Seigman School on Lasersfrom 6 – 11 August in Leon, Mexico.

Established in the honor of Antony E. Siegman, this school runs an annual week-long program, aimed at exposing up to 100 students to comprehensive subject matter on lasers and their applications. The programme is taught by internationally recognized academic and industry leaders in the fields of lasers and photonics, providing invaluable exposure and opportunities for the students and their work.

Vector modes for communication at the OFC

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

We featured in the OFC exuberance this March with an invited talk on how vector modes propagate in optics. The Optical Networking and Communications Conference holds a high-quality international technical program every year, showcasing the latest technology and science in optical networks and communications.

‘Fractal lady’ wins top poster at Siegman School

by Bereneice Sephton | Oct 12, 2017 | News

Hend Sroor won the best poster award at the recent OSA Siegman School for Lasers. Nicknamed ‘fractal lady’ after the winning research topic, Hend made it to the top amongst the ~100 students attending the conference from around the world and presenting their research in poster format.


Strategizing to the future!

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 24, 2017 | News

We will be looking to the future amidst artwork and mind games with interesting talks on our current research and where we are planning to go with it. Exciting times ahead!

Joining the published book ‘club’!

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

We’re proud to see Carmelo publish his first book! Read how he and Andrew explain the intricacies of shaping light with spatial light modulators, catering for beginners and those more versed in the subject here.

Making the editor’s pick!

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

Congratulations to Yaseera, Stuti, Andrew and Francesco for making the editor’s pick in the Journal of the Optical Society of America B! Read their paper about instrument limitations on a polarization-based entangled photon source in our 2017 publications section.

Reaching the Top!

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

We’re excited to have our review paper on the creation and detection of optical modes with spatial light modulators among the top most cited and downloaded articles in 2016! Read the article in our publications section.

Turbulent times!

by Melanie McLaren | Jan 24, 2017 | News

Bienvenu uses classical light to simulate the effect of turbulence on quantum states – a big step towards understanding how to achieve real-world quantum communication. Article on phys.org. Photo credit: Wits University

Light through a different perspective

by Bereneice Sephton | Sep 18, 2017 | News

We were strategizing research with a different perspective on light with Marcus Neustetter who graciously hosted us in his art studio and widened our views on connecting light and art.
Marcus explores the boundary between science and art, using it as a tool to connect communities and science, making a difference in both these worlds.
Photograph: An artistic take on our personal mind maps, imbued with pinpricks of light.

Taking home prizes at SAIP

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 14, 2017 | News

Five of our students won prizes in the Photonics division at the 62nd annual South African Institute of Physics (SAIP) conference hosted at Stellenbosch University. Jason Webber (not in photograph) also won an award in the Condensed Matter and Materials division and received an honourable mention for his oral presentation in the Nuclear, Particle and Radiation Physics.
Photograph: Prize winners in the photonics division with Prof. A. Forbes (Photonics division chair), Prof. A. Muronga (SAIP president) and Dr. R. Lieberman (SPIE immediate past president). See Bienvenu Ndagano and Mitchell Cox at the centre of the back row as well as Hend Sroor, Bereneice Sephton and Isaac Nape in the front row.

Tailoring complex light fields, an editorial special

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

Tailoring complex light fields have sparked a lot of interest with its many exciting applications and innovations. We edited a special issue of Chinese Optics Letters with Qiwen Zhan to capture the latest, ground-breaking developments.

Talking quantum for Africa

by Bereneice Sephton | Jul 9, 2017 | News

Isaac gave his first invited talk at the 4th Quantum Africa conference in March this year, explaining the creation and detection of high dimensional quantum states for quantum communication.

Quantum Africa 4 is part of the Quantum Africa series aimed at facilitating collaborations and exchanges between both countries in other continents with Africa and the different African countries themselves. Held in different African countries biennially, this May it was hosted in Tunisia with many distinguished speakers taking part.

Year End Function

by Melanie McLaren | Jan 10, 2017 | News

Muscles we haven’t felt in years were put to the test while flying through the trees. Thankfully we all made it out in one piece #dontfall

2016 & older

Zipping into 2017!

by Melanie McLaren | Nov 28, 2016 | News

SPIE Scholarship Winner!

by Melanie McLaren | Jul 18, 2016 | News

Bienvenu has been awarded a 2016 SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or related field.


Mitchell accepted to Siegman International School on Laser

by Melanie McLaren | May 16, 2016 | News

Mitch will be attending the 2016 Siegman School on Lasers, co-founded by the OSA Foundation and IPG Photonics in Barcelona, Spain in 24 – 29 July. This week long program provides up to 100 graduate students from around the world the opportunity to advance their education, foster future collaboration, and promote research and engineering for the optical community.

Nature Photonics: Laser beams with a “twist”

by Melanie McLaren | Mar 16, 2016 | News

Our recent article in Nature Photonics describes the first demonstration of laser that can generate all states on the higher-order Poincaré sphere. A follow-up article can be found on the WITS news site.

Science, Cocktails & Jazz!

by Melanie McLaren | Nov 25, 2015 | Media Coverage

What better way to spend a Tuesday evening than sipping scientific cocktails, jamming to jazz and musing the mysteries of the photonic world? With 2015 being the UNESCO International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, Andrew shared some of the wonders of light: what we understand about it, what we don’t, how it has impacted on our daily lives, and how light has driven new paradigms in the way we interact with technologies.

Science & Cocktails is an initiative that brings science and entertainment closer together by creating a series of public lectures intertwined with music/art performances and smoky dry-ice chilled cocktails in your hand.

Event are held at The Orbit, with the next talk being held in the new year.

Andrew elected OSA Fellow

by Melanie McLaren | Oct 20, 2016 | News


Congratulations to Andrew has recently been elected as a Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA).

On the cover of AJP!

by Melanie McLaren | Jun 24, 2016 | News

Congratulations to David, Ben, Raul and Andrew for making it onto the cover of the American Journal of Physics! Read their paper in our publications section.

Bienvenu wins student prize!

by Melanie McLaren | Mar 1, 2016 | News

Bienvenu recently attended the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco and won best MSc poster presentation.

Journal of Optics

by Melanie McLaren | Feb 19, 2016 | News

Our paper has been chosen as Journal of Optics’ Paper of the Week, and will be highlighted on the front page of their website until next Friday: http://iopscience.iop.org/jopt.

Visit us in Cape Town on New Year’s Eve

by Melanie McLaren | Dec 8, 2015 | News

The Wits team will be counting down the International Year of Light with a “show and Tell” at the V&A Waterfront. The “Tell” will be public engagement from 9 pm on New Year’s Eve with banners that explain the beauty of light, while the “show” will be two laser projections onto the façade of the V&A Waterfront buildings, running from approximately 9:30 pm (when it gets dark) until midnight, counting down the International Year of Light.

A great year for Physics

by Melanie McLaren | Jul 25, 2016 | News

Appreciation for Physics around the world as well as within WITS University.

Group lunch on a cold May day

by Melanie McLaren | May 31, 2016 | News, Uncategorized

Finalist for TW Kambule- NSTF Awards: Emerging Researchers

by Melanie McLaren | May 16, 2016 | News

Melanie has been selected as a finalist for the TW Kambule- NSTF Award in the emerging researcher category.

First demonstration of quantum interference in high dimensions

by Melanie McLaren | Mar 1, 2016 | News

Researchers in South Africa and Scotland have demonstrated a new approach to  quantum state engineering that requires only a beamsplitter.

Andrew has once again made news, together with his collaborators, by examining  high-dimensional quantum interference. WITS article here.

Sharing the joys of photonics research

by Melanie McLaren | Feb 11, 2016 | News

Andrew is featured in an NSTF article on enlightening others about the wonders of optics and photonics. The article can be found the NSTF website.

Bienvenu wins best MSc student award

by Melanie McLaren | Dec 8, 2015 | News

Bienvenu won the best MSc award at the recent African Laser Centre Student Workshop (3-6 December 2015). His talk outlined how to pack information into light as a means to increase communication bandwidth.