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 a nanofluidic technology known as tunable resistive pulse sensing. I have studied non-wetting systems involving interfacial slip, superhydrophobicity and capillary tubes. I am developing projects using new nanofluidic tools to study ‘soft’ nanomechanics, especially involving Janus particles. We have recently obtained a high-speed camera, which we will use to image the dynamic behaviour of microfluidic droplets. We have a 2017 MBIE Smart Ideas grant to study drop impacts relating to spray drying of food products.


Teaching | Current

PHYS120 Advancing Physics 1 (11am-1pm stream)

PHYS332 Fluid Mechanics

CHEM340 Advanced Analytical Chemistry (Nanotech, Microfluidics)

Science Scholars programme

Postgraduate supervision

Matheu Broom (PhD)

Ankita Gangotra (PhD)

Qaisar Latif (PhD)

Stephen Chung (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

Physics Summer Student Co-ordinator

Faculty Staffing Committee

MacDiarmid Institute: Board and Science Executive as PI Rep

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Sanjuan-Alberte, P., Saleh, E., Shaw, A. J., Lacalendola, N., Willmott, G., Vaithilingam, J., ... Rawson, F. J. (2019). Remotely Controlled in Situ Growth of Silver Microwires Forming Bioelectronic Interfaces. ACS applied materials & interfaces, 11 (9), 8928-8936. 10.1021/acsami.8b22075
  • Lardier, N., Roudier, P., Clothier, B., & Willmott, G. R. (2019). High-speed photography of water drop impacts on sand and soil. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOIL SCIENCE, 70 (2), 245-256. 10.1111/ejss.12737
  • Agarwal, P., Khun, D., Krösser S, Eickhoff, K., Wells, F. S., Willmott, G. R., ... Rupenthal, I. D. (2019). Preclinical studies evaluating the effect of semifluorinated alkanes on ocular surface and tear fluid dynamics. Ocular Surface10.1016/j.jtos.2019.02.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ilva Rupenthal, Priyanka Agarwal, Steve Wells, Jennifer Craig
  • Kavuri, H. A., Fukuda, T., Takahira, K., Takahashi, A., Kihara, S., McGillivray, D. J., & Willmott, G. (2018). Electrospray-deposited vanadium oxide anode interlayers for high-efficiency organic solar cells. Organic Electronics, 57, 239-246. 10.1016/j.orgel.2018.03.017
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Duncan McGillivray
  • Willmott, G. R. (2018). Tunable Resistive Pulse Sensing: Better Size and Charge Measurements for Submicrometer Colloids. Analytical chemistry, 90 (5), 2987-2995. 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b05106
  • Willmott, G., Hammerschmidt, L., Grimson, M., Riddings, K., Hendy, S., Wills, P., ... Demarais, N. (2017). "Physics at the Interface" in Auckland. AAPPS Bulletin, 27 (5), 8-14.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42847
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Malcolm Grimson, Shaun Hendy, Frederique Vanholsbeeck, Nicholas Demarais, Peter Wills
  • Gangotra, A., & Willmott, G. R. (2017). Scanning ion conductance microscopy mapping of tunable nanopore membranes. Biomicrofluidics, 11 (5).10.1063/1.4999488
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ankita Gangotra
  • 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
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Evgeny Bogomolny


Contact details

Primary office location

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

Web links