Small sensors for Air quality measurements

I have had an interest in the use of small sensors for air quality measurements and have been testing various commercial versions since 2013. Many have been tested at the main DEFRA Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) station for Leicester, based on the University of Leicester's campus. Here we are able to calibrate them against the reference instruments (O3, NO, NO2, CO and PM2.5) in the station, sampling the same air. 


Further to this, the small sensors have been used for various outreach projects with local schools, by Leicester city council and by campaign groups, such as the London Sustainability Exchange and their Cleaner air 4 communities campaign. This community outreach and citizen science project in London in 2019 used laboratory-designed PM2.5 sensors from my research group in Chile (UDD) allowing the west London community groups to design their own experiments that look at their local air quality on a spatio-temporal scale that is second to none.

AQMesh10 (5).JPG
AQMeshandMetstationat BUSHLOE (2).JPG

The Leicester AURN station, an AQMesh instrument at a school and the LSx Cleaner Air 4 communities volunteers.

A new project starting in January 2021: A Chilean science funding Association ANID FONDEQUIP Mayor project: 

Platform for standardization, characterization and calibration of environmental air and water diagnoses

We will set up a dedicated website for this in April 2021 but for now, the details of the project can be seen in this pdf. We would love to know about other researchers or citizen scientists working with small sensors in various Chilean (or Latin American) environmental situations to see if they want to use some of our reference instruments to help calibrate their sensors or if they want to use our laboratory calibration facilities. We hope to be set up in the laboratory in Santiago and with a mobile laboratory in July 2021. Please contact me if you want to know more.


We will be purchasing a variety of reference air quality instrumentation, like those used in the SINCA air quality monitoring stations around Chile and a couple of more mobile air quality instruments. We will have some multi-parameter water quality instruments and some field work mobile multi-parameter water quality sensors. We will also have a met station and flow meters  and Hobo water sensors to measure river flow and height. We will also have an XRF portable soil sampler that can detect the metals in soils.

We are looking for more volunteers for our International Advisory Board and also anyone from neighbouring South American countries to get in touch. We will hold a field school in 2022 and students are always welcome to come and work in our laboratory. Check out our press releases that explain the project (by the UDD engineering department and by our colleagues in Patagonia, CIEP, who have been and will be major players in building up a capacity for assessing small sensors in Chile). 

Some of the instruments we will have in our calibration laboratory towards the end of 2021

Some articles and videos about small sensors in citizen science

Watch this interview that the Centre for Climate and Resilience Research ((CR)2) at the University of Chile produced

Watch this interview in Spanish that CIEP did about our measurements in Coyhaique, Chilean Patagonia

Here are 2 articles in Spanish about how we measured the air pollution in Coyhaique, Chilean Patagonia using small hand-held instruments, that we have named Hiris.                                                                    El Mostrador and Diario Aysen.

press release COY.png

23 July 2019 Mega walk where 12 people walked around the town on separate routes during the same 45 minutes. Red is high air pollution and green is within the safe limits