WHAT DO WE STUDY?
We are interested in the interaction of fluids with materials at small length scales. Our research is broad and interdisciplinary, encompassing both theoretical and experimental work. Our team has a diverse mix of backgrounds in physics, chemistry, engineering, materials science and nanotechnology.
Contact: g.willmott[at]auckland.ac.nz; also see his University of Auckland profile page
Our work falls into three main themes. Explore their pages for more information about individual projects.
Dynamic Microfluidics Laboratory
… also known as the ‘splash lab’, here we study drops in experiments that are both fundamental and relevant to industry. From raindrops to coatings, ink-jets to sprinklers, ferrofluids to dairy products – we study processes in which drops land or spread, often in contact with interesting surfaces. The lab is home to our high-speed camera facilities, and features a chamber to control atmospheric humidity and temperature. See our Youtube channel for some movies.
Nanofluidics: Pores and Pipettes
At very small scales, the properties of fluids are affected by phenomena which are not apparent in macroscopic systems. We are particularly interested in the flow of fluids, particles and ions through the confined entrances of nanoscale pores and pipettes. This research supports new, efficient methods for sensing, analysis and manipulation of nanoscale colloids, including various interesting bioparticles.
Janus Particles and Soft Condensed Matter
Janus spheres are micro- and nanoscale colloids which have some asymmetry in their physical and/or chemical properties. Commonly, the sphere’s two hemispheres have different surface chemistries, e.g. hydrophilic and hydrophobic. Asymmetric particles (such as Janus spheres) are increasingly of interest because of their possible uses as building blocks for new self-assembled and even reconfigurable materials. More broadly, we can use the tools of soft condensed matter to study large collections of asymmetric particles.