Analytik Jena Case Study 700x550

Analytik Jena Team Master’s Project Case Study: Instrumentation Design for Disinfection of PPE

The Team Master’s Project (TMP) at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) is a degree requirement for students in multiple degree and certificate programs at KGI. This capstone program offers a rigorous and experiential learning opportunity that immerses students in the type of work many will pursue after graduation.

Students work in interdisciplinary teams with sponsoring companies from the applied life sciences industry to address real-world company objectives during a one- or two-semester engagement according to the project’s scope. TMPs provide students with the opportunity to use their marketing, business, financial, and science training to address state-of-the-art corporate challenges.

TMP activities emphasize problem-solving, project management, new business opportunity, productive teamwork, and practical communications skills that will be critically important to KGI graduates as they pursue careers in the applied life sciences and healthcare industries.

Case Summary

In 2020-21, global scientific instrumentation manufacturer Analytik Jena sponsored a TMP for the instrumentation design for disinfection of personal protective equipment (PPE). This project’s origins stem from the COVID-19 pandemic, where there is an ongoing interest in PPE availability and how to disinfect an N95 mask for more effective reuse in a hospital setting.

The students involved in this TMP are developing a high throughput, non-shadowing ultraviolet (UV) shortwave, UV disinfection device for N95 masks. Watch the video.

The Challenge

Cloth masks are fairly common. But in hospital settings, workers need to use medically certified N95 masks for much more effective protection. In theory, masks are supposed to be one use, but for years they haven’t been. The idea of disinfecting a mask for more effective reuse has become critical over the past year.

Hospitals have been building up their homegrown strategies to reuse N95 masks, using UV light to disinfect and kill pathogens, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Analytik Jena is interested in creating a high-volume strategy to leverage one of their products, a small UV illuminator that can disinfect four or five masks at a time.

Because N95 masks are expensive and supplies are limited, Analytik Jena would like to develop a solution for hospitals that will disinfect 500 to 1,000 N95 masks per day and between 10,000 to 20,000 per month, to utilize existing inventory better.

Analytik Jena expects the students to generate a prototype that the company could use for further testing and disinfection testing. Analytik Jena has partners that can spritz masks with the virus, and then they can test the effectiveness of the tool to disinfect the mask so it can be reused effectively.

The Process

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is relatively easy to kill with UV. But the tricky part with masks is to make sure the shadowed areas of the mask get disinfected. Some masks work better than others, and the students are discovering this. They’ve been extraordinarily creative in their decision process, asking questions such as:

  • “Do we create a conveyor belt?”
  • “What kind of plastics can we put the mask in?”
  • “Will the UV shine through that part of the mask and continue to disinfect?”

The TMP project for developing a high throughput, non-shadowing UV shortwave, UV disinfection device for N95 masks has dovetailed with some recently licensed technology for a non-shadowing UV light device. This device uses various angled definitions to create a non-shadowing arrangement so that all areas of the mask get illuminated with UV light.

The Analytik Jena TMP students started by looking at intellectual property, competitors, and the literature market. The following steps included generating a computer-aid design (CAD) and building a prototype.

Throughout the process, students met regularly with company liaisons from Analytik Jena to ensure that they were abiding by company protocols while advancing the company’s mission.


The team developed a device design using computer programs including CADs and Ray Tracing for system validation. The students also delivered recommendations for a path to FDA approval as well as IP and manufacturing strategies to ensure that the device prototype did not infringe on other patents and can be manufactured by Analyitk Jena.

Finally, the team manufactured and tested a to-scale device prototype to validate that it works as designed.