Adequate personal protective equipment is critical for ensuring the safety of nurses, doctors, and other frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, personal protective equipment supply chains are stretched, with a notable shortage of N95 masks for healthcare workers. Recently, decontamination has emerged as a promising strategy for maintaining the supply of medical masks. Instead of treating masks as single-use items, decontaminated masks can be used repeatedly, potentially providing a substantial reduction in demand for new masks. Heat, volatilized hydrogen peroxide, and ultraviolet-C (UV-C) irradiation are all promising strategies for decontamination.

In a Science Café, hosted online on July 8, 2020, Prof. Alex Wong discussed some of the promises and pitfalls of UV-C decontamination of medical masks, and described his lab’s work in optimizing UV-C irradiation strategies.

Explore science through Carleton University’s popular Science Cafés, now being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope to resume our in-person Science Cafés in the future, generally held twice a month during the fall and winter terms at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. For now, you are invited to join us online throughout the summer for a lively discussion around a scientific issue of the day. Be prepared to be informed, engaged and even amused, as our professors share their scientific discoveries with you. All are welcome to join us via Zoom Webinar.

Visit the Science Café website for more information on upcoming online Science Cafés and to sign up for our newsletter, or contact the Faculty of Science by email at and by telephone at 613-520-4388.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 in ,
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