Mike Arnold

W. Mike Arnold

Distinguished Research Scientist

Applied Technologies

Show me a quirky problem I can get my teeth into!

I'm a Distinguished Research Scientist within the Applied Technologies group working on Sensing, Microfab, and Polymers. My expertise spans a range of fields including bio-electronics, electrical impedance measurement, nanotechnology and radio frequency circuitry. This diversity is fuelled by my interest in peculiar problems that pique my curiosity.

My motivation comes from discovering innovative and unexpected ways to solve problems. The late Prof. Dr. Hermann P. Schwan of the University of Pennsylvania profoundly influenced my analytical thinking. From him I learned how to distil complex problems into practical solutions. 

In New Zealand, I contributed to the identification and resolution of an issue causing vending machines to reject certain gold coins, eventually leading to the specification of a new coin set. Further afield, I pioneered the electrorotation technique, a groundbreaking method for characterising biological cells.

The life-altering impact of innovations like the cardiac pacemaker is inspiring. Did you know that its first recipient had another 43 years of life after getting his pacemaker? He eventually died from melanoma, not heart disease.

My contributions have been recognized by the Science New Zealand Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.

Areas of expertise
  • Bio-electronics
  • Electrical impedance measurement (dielectric spectroscopy)
  • Cell biology/ Biotechnology
  • Electrical cell-fusion
  • Electro-rotation of microparticles/cells
  • Nanotechnology
  • Radio frequency circuitry
  • Viscosity measurement
  • Laboratory instrument electronic design
  • Project team building / leadership
  • Dr. rer. nat. habil. (equiv. DSc), Biotechnology, Uni. Würzburg, Germany, 1993.
  • PhD, Electronic Engineering Science, University of Wales, UK, 1984.
  • MSc, Marine Science, University of Wales, UK, 1977.
  • BA (Hons), Natural Sciences (Biochemistry), University of Cambridge, 1974.
Memberships and awards
  • Science New Zealand: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2022
  • Electrostatics Society of America, Conference Advisory Board Member, 2019 – ongoing
  • RACI (Royal Australian Chemical Institute) Member, 2010 – ongoing
  • Editorial board member, IET Bionanotechnology, 2007-2010
  • Associate/PrincipaI Investigator, MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology,  2004-2016
  • Board Member, IEEE Conference on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena, 2003-2005.
  • Institute of Physics (London), elected Fellow 1999
  • IEEE Senior Member, since 1999
  • Council member, Wellington Branch of the Royal Society NZ, 1998-2009
  • Elected member of German Federal “Special Research Area” SFB 176, University of Wuerzburg and other Universities, 1988-1994
Selected publications
  • A rapid, inexpensive surface treatment for enhanced functionality of polydimethylsiloxane microfluidic channels JHL Beal, A Bubendorfer, T Kemmitt, I Hoek, W Mike Arnold (2012) Biomicrofluidics 6 (3)
  • Selective purification of multiwalled carbon nanotubes by dielectrophoresis within a large array X Liu, JL Spencer, AB Kaiser, WM Arnold (2006) Current Applied Physics 6 (3), 427-431
  • The use of electrical impedance spectroscopy to assess the physiological condition of kiwifruit. AD Bauchot, FR Harker, WM Arnold (2000) Postharvest Biology and Technology 18, 9-18
  • Electropermeabilization and fluorescent tracer exchange: the role of whole-cell capacitance. VL Sukhorukov, CS Djuzenova, H Frank, WM Arnold, U Zimmermann (1995) Cytometry 21 (3), 230-240
  • Electro-rotation: development of a technique for dielectric measurements on individual cells and particles WM Arnold, U Zimmermann (1988) The Journal of Electrostatics 21, 151-191
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