At the Wits Optical Communication Lab we are interested in pushing the limits of long-range Free-Space Optical (FSO) and Visible Light Communications (VLC). We are based at The School of Electrical and Information Engineering at The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (commonly known as Wits University).
Wits (pronounced “Vits”) is the top ranked university in South Africa, is home to four Nobel laureates and is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world. Wits is also home to the second IBM research lab in Africa, one of only 12 worldwide! The School of Electrical and Information Engineering has several notable alumni such as Tingyi Li, one of the early pioneers of optical communications, and has a history of producing graduates with strong technical, leadership and entrepreneurial talent.
We are interested in optical communications, mostly without the fibres. Not only do we harness light’s amplitude, polarisation and phase, but we specialise in using structured laser beams (optical modes) to improve the bandwidth and resilience of wireless optical links. Our work is primarily of an experimental nature which we complement with theory and simulation. We also perform research in signal processing, coding and forward error correction.