A Plasma-Generating N-95 Respirator Decontamination Unit Created from a Microwave Oven

David N. Ruzic, Chamteut Oh, Joseph V. Puthussery, Dhruval Patel, Zachary Jeckell, Vishal Verma, Thanh H. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wearing a mask population-wide is an important preventive measure in address-ing COVID-19 and potential future pandemics. We showed how a household microwave oven, a coat-hanger, and a coffee cup can generate plasma that can be used to decontaminate N95 respirators in less than 1 minute. We proved that microwave-generated plasma can reduce infectivity of the Tulane virus and the transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) on N95 respirators by > 3-log10. We further studied the Tulane virus by molecular assays to understand inactivation mech-anisms, and we found that the plasma damages both viral proteins and genomes. Spectroscopy of the plasma revealed OH and C-containing radicals as the most prevalent active species expected to cause virus inactivation. The respirators still maintained filtration and fit even after 10 cycles of the plasma treatment. We believe that microwave-generated plasma is an easily accessible respirator decontamination technique that everyone could use for safe respirator reuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPlasma Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Decontamination
  • Microwaves
  • N-95 respirator
  • Plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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