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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 AQMESH instruments were tested at the DEFRA Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) station based on the University of Leicester's campus in the UK. They were calibrated against the reference instruments (O3, NO, NO2, CO and PM2.5) in the station, sampling the same air. 

In Chile we have been calibrating our Particulate Matter low cost sensors at the SINCA air quality station in Coyhaique and we made a new instrument that measures NO, NO2, O3, CO, CO2 and SO2 (and Temperature and Humidity) with Alphasense sensors and have been calibrating that against our new reference instruments.

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The Leicester AURN station, an AQMesh instrument at a school 

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Left: Particulate Matter instruments calibrating in Coyhaique air quality station

Right: Our new instrument with Alphasesnse NO, NO2, CO, CO2, SO2, O3 sensors

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

Envirohealth Data Observatory (FONDEQUIP Mayor: 2021-2025)


We were privileged to be granted funding from ANID (Chilean National Research and Development Agency) to carry out this large project and I am the lead scientist for the project. Our website shows the basics of the project. We would love to know about other researchers or citizen scientists working with small sensors in various Chilean (or Latin American) environmental situations to allow them the possibility of using some of our reference instruments to help calibrate their sensors or to use our laboratory calibration facilities. We hope to have a mobile laboratory that will start travelling across Chile at the end of 2022.  Please contact or me if you want to know more.

Air quality and meteporology

We have a variety of reference air quality instrumentation, like those used in the SINCA air quality monitoring stations around Chile and several more portable air quality instruments. These measure trace gases (CO, NO, NO2, O3, SO2, Particulate Matter, Black Carbon, greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) and Volatile Organic Compounds, (VOC). We also have a Met station.

Water quality and flow (and soil quality)


We have 2 multi-parameter water quality instruments and a spectrophotometer, a nutrient analyser and a digestor for the laboratory. We have a flow meter  and Hobo water level sensors to  measure river flow and height. We will also have an XRF portable soil sampler that can detect the metals in soils.

Please contact us if you want to become involved, to borrow our instruments, carry out a field campaign or laboratory calibration with us or want to be on our International Advisory Board. Students and researchers are always welcome to come and work in our laboratory. We will hold a field school in 2023 - please get in touch if you are interested. Check out our press releases that explain the project (by the UDD engineering department and by our colleagues in Patagonia, CIEP). 

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Air quality and meteorology instruments available for the community

Water quality and flow instruments and metals in soil instrument available for the community

Some articles and videos about small sensors in citizen science

Our small sensors have been used for various outreach projects , 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 our 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.

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

Watch this interview in Spanish on UDD TV about how citizen science can help in air quality measurements in Coyhaique

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Some results from using hand held small sensors: 23 July 2019 Mega walk where 12 people walked around the town of Coyhaique on separate routes during the same 45 minutes. Red is high air pollution and green is within the safe limits

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.

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