With close links with London Air Quality Network (LAQN) and the sensor development sector, the Exposure Science team is well placed for the evaluation of novel mobile air pollution sensing technologies.
Recent advances in sensor technology, power management and communications software, coupled with increased public interest in air pollution issues, have created a new market in ‘second generation’ air pollution sensors. These sensors are compact and/or portable monitors that can measure one or more gaseous and particulate pollutants, usually at a far lower cost than reference monitors. Such sensors have great potential for improving human exposure assessment and more targeted public information, however, they have significant challenges with regards data quality and reliability.
The team regularly carries out field campaigns for sensor calibration and data validation against reference analysers at LAQN monitoring sites. We test sensor precision, accuracy, reliability, practicality, performance drift and interference across varying meteorological conditions and in different urban environments. Tests are carried out for developers of new sensors and end users of commercially available units.
The team is currently developing a generic field testing regime to enable standardised sensor screening and performance evaluation under ambient conditions. The aim is to produce a ‘fitness of purpose’ scale for new sensors, which will facilitate better matching of sensors to applications such as public engagement, education, awareness raising, pollutant mapping, pollutant source identification, intervention evaluation and regulatory compliance.