Dr Nan Gao PhD

Dr Nan Gao

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Nan Gao is a Lecturer of Bio-medical Engineering at the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Dr Gao has published 18 research papers in scientific journals, including Nature Physics and Langmuir. His research fields are primarily focused on wetting phenomena and functional surfaces. Dr Gao’s research covers both fundamental aspects and industrial applications.


  • PhD (Engineering) (Science), University of Nottingham, UK, 2012
  • Master’s Degree in Engineering, Jilin University, China, 2008
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Jilin University, China, 2006


Dr Nan Gao obtained his PhD at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he began his research in wetting phenomena. Dr Gao continued his research career by joining Fudan University, Shanghai, as a postdoctoral research fellow to study functional materials.

Dr Gao gained an International Postdoctoral Fellowship to fund his move from Fudan University to the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany. He studied liquid-solid interfacial forces with Prof Butt, Prof Vollmer and Dr Berger at the Max-Planck Institute.

Dr Gao received an Endeavour Fellowship from the Australian Government in 2016 to join Prof Chiara Neto at the University of Sydney. He was a research associate at the University of South Australia before becoming a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham in 2019.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision of research PhD students in topics covering wetting phenomena, bio-medical engineering, and functional surfaces. Applications are welcome and will be considered.


Research Themes:

  • Wetting phenomena
  • Lateral adhesion at liquid-solid interfaces
  • Functional surface structures
  • Interfacial forces and dynamics


Selected Journal Publications:

  • Sebben, D.A., Gao, N., Gillies, G., Beattie D.A., Krasowska, M. (2019) Fractionation and characterisation of hard milk fat crystals using atomic force microscopy, Food chemistry 279, 98-104
  • Gao, N., Sebben, D.A., Gillies, G., Krasowska, M., Beattie, D.A. (2019) Revealing the Nanostructure of Glyceryl Tristearate Crystals by Atomic Force Microscopy, Crystal Growth & Design 19 (1), 513-519
  • Gao N., Geyer, F., Pilat, D.W., Wooh, S., Vollmer, D., Butt, H.-J., Berger R. (2018) How drops start sliding over solid surfaces, Nature Physics 14, 191–196
  • Gao, N., Chiu, M., Neto C. (2017) Receding contact line motion on nanopatterned and micropatterned polymer surfaces, Langmuir 33 (44), 12602-12608
  • Butt, H.-J., Gao, N., Papadopoulos, P., Steffen, W., Kappl, M., Berger, R. (2017) Energy Dissipation of Moving Drops on Superhydrophobic and Superoleophobic Surfaces, Langmuir 33 (1), 107-116
  • Gao, N., Fang, X. (2015) Synthesis and development of graphene–inorganic semiconductor nanocomposites, Chemical reviews 115 (16), 8294-8343
  • Yan, Y.Y., Gao, N., Barthlott, W. (2011) Mimicking natural superhydrophobic surfaces and grasping the wetting process: A review on recent progress in preparing superhydrophobic surfaces, Advances in colloid and interface science 169 (2), 80-105
  • Gao, N., Yan, Y.Y., Chen, X.Y., Mee, D.J. (2011) Superhydrophobic surfaces with hierarchical structure, Materials Letters 65 (19-20), 2902-2905
  • Gao, N., Yan, Y.Y., Chen, X.Y., Zheng, X.F. (2010) Superhydrophobic composite films based on THS and nanoparticles, Journal of Bionic Engineering 7 (4), S59-S66
  • Gao, N., Yan, Y. (2009) Modeling superhydrophobic contact angles and wetting transition, Journal of Bionic Engineering 6 (4), 335-340

View all publications in research portal