Lukas Oudejans, Ph.D.
Research Physical Scientist
EPA's Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response
The focus of my research is how to clean surfaces. That sounds easy enough but if you think of surfaces that are contaminated with highly toxic chemicals or biological pathogens, cleaning a surface takes on a different meaning. I have investigated and published methods that can be used to clean nonporous materials that are contaminated with pesticides or even chemical warfare agents but some of those approaches can be rather destructive/corrosive. So, I have also looked into different options for decontamination of sensitive equipment. Another complicating factor when it comes to decontamination is that some of these toxic chemicals can permeate into paint or sealants which we find almost everywhere. Finding good approaches to “deep clean” those type of coatings and materials is challenging.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has now also drawn attention to find disinfecting approaches that can be used repeatedly since recontamination can happen at any moment. I am currently looking into alterative disinfection approaches like UV-C light that could be installed permanently in offices, subway cars, buses, etc and can be turned on when people are not present. It can be an attractive alternative to supplement already existing disinfection approaches.
Why This Science Matters
I am working to improve our ability to prepare for and respond to disasters—that includes natural disasters, terrorist events but also the current CoVID-19 pandemic. It is much better to find solutions before a disaster happens as to be better prepared to respond rather than figuring it out after an event; it makes us all much more resilient.
1993 Ph.D. in Experimental Physics, Radboud University
1988 M.S. in Experimental Phyics, Radboud University