Student Activities


There are six areas of specializations (research themes/groups) in the department of physics which include:

  1. Theoretical Physics

  2. Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

  3. Geo- and Space Physics

  4. Electronics and Instrumentation

  5. Nuclear and Radiation Physics

  6. Laser Physics and Spectroscopy


TITLE: Photovoltaic (PV) System Performance Forecasting And Modelling Using Real -Time Observation And Weather Data 


SUPERVISORS: Dr. S. Waita & Dr. G. O. Okeng'o



Photovoltaic (PV) systems have become an indispensable source of power for both commercial and domestic use in many developing countries including Kenya. However, it is difficult to fully integrate solar energy into the power grid and realize its full potential without proper modelling of the impact of selected environmental variables on PV system performance. This is because PV systems power output is intermittent and highly sensitive to weather conditions. Hence, proper evaluation, analysis and modelling of Photovoltaic (PV) systems performance is important for financing, design, installation, operation, budgeting and technical success. This research work aims at studying and modelling the effects of relative humidity, ambient temperature, wind speed, irradiance and PV module surface temperature on PV performance in order to come up with more accurate, flexible and customized models that can be used to predict solar power generation using weather forecasts data and real-time measurements. Machine learning techniques including several regression and Artificial Neural Networks will be implemented for PV systems performance forecasting. As an output, this work is expected to yield models for performing detailed analysis of PV systems performance with fewer errors. Such models harbor great economic benefits such as enabling reliable operational planning and proactive power trading within the private sector, municipalities, cities and regions in Kenya.



TITLE: Underwater Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Performance Analysis And Modelling

SUPERVISORS: Dr. S. Waita & Dr. G. O. Okeng'o


Photovoltaic (PV) systems are currently most favored as the longest-endurance solar energy sources for powering autonomous systems widely used in provision of situational analysis and environmental monitoring data. However, to date, use of PV systems power devices have only been limited to dry-land and space applications, with important underwater devices making use of shore-power and batteries that often lack long term endurance. Recently, research geared towards development of PV solar cells “tuned” to detect filtered penetrating underwater has been proposed as an alternative reliable source to provide power for underwater unmanned vehicles, sensors and cameras. Sunlight penetrating underwater experiences a decrease in its intensity due to a shift in the spectral energy towards blue light, making conventional solar cells to lose efficiency. High band-gap solar cells designed for space applications have been proposed as a viable alternative due to their possible high sensitivity to the bluer spectrum experienced underwater. However, a detailed and proper investigation of the performance of ordinary silicon PV solar cells is needed in order to generate reliable baseline data to steer ongoing research.  In this research work, we propose to carry out a performance analysis of PV solar cells placed at different depths under water in order to obtain a performance model for possible underwater power generation applications. Underwater photovoltaics have the potential of providing continuous power for long duration for unmanned remote sensor missions within depths up to several meters, and this will make recharging of the batteries easier, making them longer lived and finally reducing the overall cost of missions.