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)

  • 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
  • Lardier, N., Roudier, P., Clothier, B., & Willmott, G. R. (2018). High-speed photography of water drop impacts on sand and soil. European Journal of Soil Science10.1111/ejss.12737
  • 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.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Malcolm Grimson, Shaun Hendy, Frederique Vanholsbeeck, Nicholas Demarais
  • 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
  • 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. 10.1504/IJNT.2017.082426
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Loho
  • 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. 10.1504/IJNT.2017.082427
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Evgeny Bogomolny


Contact details

Primary office location

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

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