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New Nanowire Mask Traps and Kills Pathogens

‘Paper’ composed of titanium oxide nanowires can trap pathogens and destroy them with light.

There’s certainly no shortage of unique face masks in development, but one in particular may take the cake with regard to protective features. A recent article discussed a new mask composed of titanate nanowires that traps and kills pathogens. Traditional paper masks have been proven to work, but come with a variety of setbacks including the environmental impact of disposable masks, and the fact that they trap pathogens, but don’t destroy them.

The new mask, developed by an EPFL laboratory, contains a membrane made of titanium oxide nanowires that look like filter paper, but have antibacterial and antiviral properties. When exposed to ultraviolet radiation, the fibers convert resident moisture into oxidizing agents like hydrogen peroxide, which can kill pathogens. Beyond PPE, the development could also prove functional in ventilation and air conditioning systems.

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