Dr Geoff Willmott

MA, MSci, PhD (Cambridge)

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Senior Lecturer


I am a New Zealander who studied at the University of Cambridge (UK), obtaining a PhD in shock physics in 2005. I returned to New Zealand the following year to a postdoctoral position with the Nano and Micro Fluidics team at Industrial Research Limited (now Callaghan Innovation) in Lower Hutt. I developed an interest in nanofluidics, and was appointed as a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute in 2010.

I was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2012, and started as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland in October 2013.


Research | Current

Nano- and microfluidics is a field with rich potential for applications in medicine, sensing, biotechnology and industry. My research involves the application of physics to fundamental and practical problems, through both theory and experiments. I have a general interest in nanofluidic transport – the motion of liquids (and particles within them) on very small scales. More specifically, I have worked extensively on tunable resistive pulse sensing, a nanofluidic technology commercialized by Christchurch-based Izon Science. I have studied non-wetting systems involving interfacial slip, superhydrophobicity and capillary tubes. I hope to develop projects using new nanofluidic tools to study ‘soft’ nanomechanics. We have recently obtained a high-speed camera, which we will use to image the dynamic behaviour of microfluidic droplets.


Teaching | Current

PHYS120 Advancing Physics 1 (1-3pm stream)

PHYS354 Condensed and Soft Matter Physics (Soft Matter)

CHEM340 Advanced Analytical Chemistry (Nanotech, Microfluidics)

Science Scholars programme

Postgraduate supervision

Matheu Broom (PhD)

Ankita Gangotra (PhD)

Sun Jae Choi (Hons)


  • Rutherford Discovery Fellowship (2012)

Areas of expertise

  • Dynamic microfluidics and high-speed photography
  • Tunable resistive pulse sensing and nanofluidic transport
  • Wetting and capillarity in micro- and nanofluidics, including superhydrophobicity
  • The dynamics of slippery particles

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Physics Postgraduate Committee

Faculty Staffing Committee

Faculty Research Committee (Rutherford Discovery Fellow Rep)

MacDiarmid Institute: Board and Science Executive as PI Rep

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Bogomolny, E., Willmott, G. R., Beal, J. H. L., & Arnold, W. M. (2017). Enumeration of colloidal sub-micron particles using tunable resistive pulse sensing. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOTECHNOLOGY, 14 (1-6), 38-46. 10.1504/IJNT.2017.10000604
  • Weatherall, E., Loho, T., Dickinson, M., Colby, A. H., Grinstaff, M. W., & Willmott, G. R. (2017). Tunable resistive pulse sensing and nanoindentation of pH-responsive expansile nanoparticles. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NANOTECHNOLOGY, 14 (1-6), 446-456. 10.1504/IJNT.2017.10000603
  • Hauer, P., Grand, J., Djorovic, A., Willmott, G. R., & Le Ru, E. C. (2016). Spot Size Engineering in Microscope-Based Laser Spectroscopy. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 120 (37), 21104-21113. 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b04574
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30481
  • Weatherall, E., Hauer, P., Vogel, R., & Willmott, G. R. (2016). Pulse Size Distributions in Tunable Resistive Pulse Sensing. Analytical Chemistry, 88 (17), 8648-8656. 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b01818
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30483
  • Radionova, A., Greenwood, D. R., Willmott, G. R., & Derrick, P. J. (2016). Dual Nano-Electrospray and Mixing in the Taylor Cone. Mass Spectrometry Letters. 10.5478/MSL.2016.7.1.21
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Greenwood
  • Robson, S., & Willmott, G. R. (2016). Asymmetries in the spread of drops impacting on hydrophobic micropillar arrays. Soft Matter, 12 (21), 4853-4865. 10.1039/C5SM03108G
  • Weatherall, E., & Willmott, G. R. (2015). Applications of tunable resistive pulse sensing. The Analyst, 140 (10), 3318-3334.
  • Weatherall, E., & Willmott, G. R. (2015). Conductive and biphasic pulses in tunable resistive pulse sensing. The journal of physical chemistry. B, 119 (16), 5328-5335.


Contact details

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 303 - Bldg 303
Level 6, Room 609
New Zealand

Web links