Senior Team

Andrew Forbes

Distinguished Professor

Andrew has at various times found himself as teacher, janitor, secretary, receptionist, web-master, systems engineer, sales rep, manager, director, and sometimes a scientist.  He is presently a Distinguished Professor within the School of Physics at the U. Witwatersrand (South Africa) where in 2015 he established a new laboratory for Structured Light. Andrew is a founding member of the Photonics Initiative of South Africa and South Africa’s Quantum Roadmap.  He is a Fellow of SPIE, the OSA, the SAIP, and an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.  He holds an A-rating by the South African NRF, 3 honorary professorships, is editor-in-chief of the IoP’s Journal of Optics and sits on the editorial board of three other international journals. Andrew has won several awards, including the NSTF national award for his contributions to photonics in South Africa, the Georg Forster prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for outstanding contributions to photonics, and the SAIP Gold Medal, the highest award for physics in South Africa, making him the youngest winner to date.  Andrew spends his time having fun with the taxpayers’ money, exploring structured light in lasers as well as classical and quantum optics. 

Angela Dudley

Senior Lecturer

After receiving her MSc. from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Angela joined the CSIR’s National Laser Centre on a PhD studentship in 2008. Her Ph.D. research involved measurement techniques for optical beams carrying orbital angular momentum. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 and subsequently commenced a Postdoctoral Fellowship followed by a Senior Researcher position at the CSIR. After 10 years at the CSIR, Angela joined the University of the Witwatersrand where she is currently a Senior Lecturer. Angela holds the SAIP Silver Medal for outstanding young physicists, and chairs the SPIE conference on Laser Beam Shaping. Her research interests lie in ‘shaping’ laser beams into various ‘patterns’ for applications with high-power laser sources.

Valeria Rodríguez-Fajardo

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Valeria Rodríguez-Fajardo started developing her interest in photonics whilst studying Physics at the National University of Colombia. This led her to move to Mexico to pursue a Masters degree in Optics from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) and thereafter to Spain to conduct a PhD at ICFO – The Institute of Photonics Sciences. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where she works in the Structured Light Laboratory. She has worked in a variety of fields, including holography, plasmonics and optical trapping, and her ongoing interest is in using structured light for metrology and quantum imaging.

Wagner Tavares Buono

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Wagner is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the SLL. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Federal Fluminense University (UFF) in Brazil. He also completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in the Quantum Optics Laboratory at UFF, focusing on second harmonic generation of structured light with particular emphasis on optical phase vortices. His current research interests include various applications of structured light, the interaction of light with matter as well as nonlinear photonics.

Darryl Naidoo

Honorary Academic

Darryl Naidoo conducted his PhD research at the CSIR National Laser Centre based in Pretoria, South Africa. He received his PhD in March 2015 from Stellenbosch University and has subsequently taken up his current position as Senior Researcher at the CSIR National Laser Centre. His work is centred on laser beam shaping both extra and intra-cavity, mode measurement and laser resonators where his current research is geared towards high power beam shaping for use in laser enabled manufacturing processes. Darryl has been awarded one SPIE scholarship, 4 National Laser Centre awards and has received 2 CSIR Excellence Awards for ‘Best Student’ in 2012 and ‘Outstanding Contribution by a Team’ in 2014.


Graduated Members

  • Nikiwe Mashaba  (2021) – MSc Dissertation: A real-time turbulence simulator
  • Nokwazi Mphuthi  (2020) – PhD Thesis: The robustness of spatial modes of light for long distance free-space propagation
  • Stirling Scholes (2020) – MSc Dissertation: Structuring light to improve laser brightness *Cum Laude
  • Michael de Oliviera (2020) – MSc Dissertation: Quantum cryptography with structured light *Cum Laude
  • Jonathan Pinnell (2020) – MSc Dissertation: Controlling the orbital angular momentum spectrum of classical and quantum light *Cum Laude
  • Nyiku Makonisi (2020) – MSc Dissertation: Nitrogen vacancy centre in diamond and its application to quantum information processing *Cum Laude
  • Ravin Kara (2020) – MSc Dissertation: Digital Micro-mirror beam control *Cum Laude
  • Eileen Otte (2019) – PhD Thesis: Structured singular light fields *Graduated through U. Munster, Germany *Cum Laude
  • Micthell Cox (2019) – PhD Thesis: Improving the resilience of free-space optical links using structured modes of light
  • Chemist Mabena (2019) – PhD Thesis: Distortion correction for free-space quantum communications
  • Prince Mredlana (2019) – MSc Dissertation: Modal decomposition with Wigner functions
  • Bienvenu Ndagano (2019) – PhD Thesis: Classical and Quantum Entanglement: Applications to Quantum Communications with Structured Photons
  • Nkosi Bhebhe (2019) – PhD Thesis: Creation and analysis of structured light fields for application in optical tweezers
  • Hend Sroor (2019) – PhD Thesis: Higher-Order Poincaré beams from lasers
  • Bereneice Sephton (2018) – MSc Dissertation: Quantum walks with classically entangled light *Cum Laude
  • Mosima Kgomo (2018) – MSc Dissertation: Towards the development of Thulium-doped all-fibre lasers
  • Lucas Galele (2018) – MSc Dissertation: Long distance data transfer using spatial modes of light
  • Isaac Nape (2017) – MSc Dissertation: Hybrid entanglement for quantum communication *Cum Laude
  • Bigboy Madlala (2017) – MSc Dissertation: Designing a low cost passively Q-switched solid state laser transmitter
  • Daniel Morris (2017) – MSc Dissertation: Research and development of high power thulium-doped fibre lasers *Cum Laude
  • Bienvenu Ndagano (2016) – MSc Dissertation: Encoding information into spatial modes of light

Past Post-Doctoral Fellows

  • Najmeh Tabebordbar (2019-2020)
  • Adam Valles (2017-2018)
  • Carmelo Rosales Guzman (2015-2018)
  • Melanie McLaren (2015-2017)

Recent Visitors

  • Vladimir VenediktovLETI St Petersburg (Russia)
  • Jan KorvinkKIT (Germany)
  • Jonathan LeachHariot-Watt University (Scotland)
  • Shanti BhattacharyaIIT Madras (India)
  • Martin LaveryUniversity of Glasgow (Scotland)
  • Jian WangHuazhong University of Science and Technology (China)
  • Ben McMarronOregon University (USA)
  • Filippo RomanatoPadova University (Italy)

Visiting International Students

  • Hang Li (PhD Student) – Huazhong University of Science and Techology, Hubei, China
  • Yijie Shen (PhD Student) – Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • Amogh Manthalkar (MSc Student) – ITT Madras, India
  • Benjamin Perez-Garcia (PhD Student) – Photonics and Mathematical Optics Group, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Ermes Toninelli (PhD Student) – University of Glasgow, Optics Group
  • Eileen Otte (PhD Student) – Institute for Applied Physics, WWU Münster, Germany
  • Jun Liu (PhD Student) – Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Multi-Dimensional Photonics Lab
  • Giacomo Sorelli (PhD Student) – University of Freiburg
  • Robert Brüning (PhD Student) – Institute of Applied Optics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
  • Charlotte Kyeremah (MSc Student) – University of Cape Coast, Ghana
  • Sruthy Lathika (MSc Student) – Indian Institute of Technology, India
  • Filipu Yelton Nlovu (MSc Student) – University of Fort Hare, South Africa
  • Maya Reyes (1st Year undergraduate) – Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  • Peter J. Williams (1st Year undergraduate) – Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States