Dr Geoff Willmott

Principal Investigator

Phone: 09 3737599 ext 89992

Postal Address:

The Departments of Physics and Chemistry
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, New Zealand

Geoff WillmottGeoff grew up in Auckland and studied at the University of Cambridge, obtaining a PhD in shock physics in 2005. The following year he returned to New Zealand and Industrial Research Limited, where he worked in the Nano and Micro Fluidics team for 8 years, before joining the University of Auckland in 2013. Geoff has collaborated with industrial partners including Qinetiq, de Beers and Izon Science, and has previously worked in management consultancy. He currently leads the Institute’s “Bionano/Nanobio and Soft Matter” Theme and was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2012. In early 2018 he took on the role as Deputy Director in Commercialisation and Industry Engagement in the MacDiarmid Institute.

Research Interests

Nanofluidics is the study and application of fluid flow in and around nanoscale structures, inspired by microfluidics, nanoscience and biotechnology.  The range of tools available to researchers who wish to manipulate fluids at the nanoscale is presently limited.  We use theory and experimentation to develop novel tools for harnessing nanofluidic transport. Key research topics include tunable nanopores, capillarity and motion of phase boundaries, and drop splashes on water-repellent surfaces.


Associated Content


Productivity Commission cites MacDiarmid Institute as key organisation contributing to low emissions materials and technologies

MacDiarmid Institute welcomes Productivity Commission Report on Low Emissions Economy MacDiarmid Deputy Director Dr Geoff Willmott today welcomed the Productivity Commission Report on Low Emissions Economy. The report notes the MacDiarmid Institute has research strength in this area. “We welcome the Commission’s call for more research into low-emissions research and development. The report correctly identifies […]


Making a Splash on Superhydrophobic Surfaces

Dr Geoff Willmott from the Departments of Physics and Chemistry at The University of Auckland is using a Marsden Fund grant to study the asymmetry of drop splashes on extremely water-repellent superhydrophobic surfaces, to link structure to function, using high speed photography.   Read the full story at The Royal Society of New Zealand. 



“Izon Science designs and manufactures precision instrumentation for nano- and micro-scale particle analysis. The instrument systems, the qNano and qViro-X, are now in use in a wide range of research institutes and universities around the world.” www.izon.com Izon Sciences has benefited greatly from MacDiarmid work addressing the mechanisms of particle transport through nanopores (research conducted by […]

Transport in the Nanoworld

Understanding of nanofluidics has the potential to revolutionise the way in which particle sensing and analysis, and ultimately molecular biology, is done. We seek to manipulate transport of fluid and particles in and around micro- to nano-scale devices, individual pores and porous materials. We use elastomeric tunable nanopores to study a wide range of interesting […]


MacDiarmid Investigators success with 2012 Rutherford Discovery Fellowships

Congratulations to MacDiarmid Principal Investigators, Dr Geoff Willmott (IRL) and Dr Martin Allen (CU), who have been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships, two of only ten this year.  The Fellowships are designed to help develop their research careers in New Zealand and will provide financial support of $160,000 per annum to them over a five-year period.  […]


Marsden Success

The Royal Society of New Zealand today announced the successfull Marsden Fund grants.  Amongst the 86 research projects were two significant projects belonging to MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigators Professor Richard Blaikie (University of Otago), and Dr Geoff Willmott (Industrial Research Limited), and another led by Associate Investigator Dr Aaron Marshall (University of Canterbury). Engineering optical […]


Commitment and Collegiality

These plans will be the basis for a joint meeting between the Board and the Science Executive at the end of July. They define what we are doing now and what we intend to do, forming the basis for our rebidding proposal. The meeting was great and showed to me yet again how amazing the […]


Building collaborations and partnerships and defining our future

The Forum is a partnership between the MacDiarmid Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, the Royal Society of New Zealand and Te Aitanga a Hauiti iwi and the East Coast community of Tolaga Bay. Sir Paul Callaghan conceived the idea of the Forum and drove it. He envisioned an event in which collectively we considered New […]


Videos – Meet our scientists

During AMN-7 the Science Media Centre “SAVVY Express” team offered our Investigators and students targeted 15 minute sessions to practice speaking about their research on-camera, with feedback and training from a professional interviewer. The result is a series of seventeen interesting 90 second videos all of which are now available to watch via SMC’s Youtube channel, or you can […]


OPINION: Taking the J out of JAFA

By MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator Geoff Willmott “The problem is the gap between us on the map, and there’s no easy way to reconcile it.” – ‘Wellington’ (The Mutton Birds) In a colonial outpost a handful of academics follow the lead of those based further south, struggling to promote an institute in the midst of […]

Just a Few Words of Encouragement

 Elf Eldridge describes his unusually rocky road to physics research, his burgeoning career as a science communicator, and the immense impact MacDiarmid researchers have had on his life. Kia ora, I’m Elf – or ‘technically’ James Alexis Eldridge. I wasn’t a great student at high school, scraping through most of my subjects apart from English. […]

A Culture of Commercialisation

In general, I see my role as being to facilitate commercialization activity in the Institute, and to build a culture of commercialisation.  I’m not going to be doing the commercialisation in the sense of starting companies and writing business plans but, hopefully, I can help put structures and networks in place to support people who want […]

Peering Inside Nanopores

“We make money from invisible holes.  But we can’t afford to be invisible.” Hans van der Voorn, Executive Chairman of nanotechnology start-up firm Izon, spreads out a series of brochures highlighting his company’s brightly-coloured, cheerful-looking devices, each housing its trademark nanopore technology. “We made a conscious decision not to have any grey instruments. It’s a little unusual, […]

New Principal Investigators

  Following the call for applications for new Principal Investigator positions in the MacDiarmid Institute 7 appointments were made to commence on 01 January 2010. They are: Martin Allen Martin in based at the University of Canterbury. His research interests are: The physical properties and device applications of metal oxide semiconduc­tors (in particular the oxides […]

Filled Roles

  There was a surprise waiting for those attending the post-doc symposium at Massey. After – in some cases – learning and even rehearsing their oral presentations – some attendees were initially horrified to find that they’d be giving someone else’s presentation… Some might call Bill Williams sadistic. Others would say he just has a […]