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 (Thermal Physics)

PHYS354 Condensed and Soft Matter Physics (Soft Matter)

CHEM350 Module: Nanotech at the Interface

Science Scholars programme

Postgraduate supervision

Matheu Broom (PhD)

Ankita Gangotra (PhD)

Zian "Anzee" Li (Hons)

Sehdeep Singh (BTech)

Alan Tang (BTech)


  • 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

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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.
  • Hauer, P., Le Ru, E. C., & Willmott, G. R. (2015). Co-ordinated detection of microparticles using tunable resistive pulse sensing and fluorescence spectroscopy. Biomicrofluidics, 9 (1)
  • Bogomolny, E., Hong, J., Blenkiron, C., Simonov, D., Dauros, P., Swift, S., ... Willmott, G. R. (2015). Analysis of bacteria-derived outer membrane vesicles using tunable resistive pulse sensing. Paper presented at Conference on Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications X, San Francisco, CA. 7 February - 9 February 2015. COLLOIDAL NANOPARTICLES FOR BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS X. (pp. 6). 10.1117/12.2078377
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jiwon Hong, Anthony Phillips, Simon Swift, Cherie Blenkiron, Denis Simonov