Air pollution and the quality of the air we breathe is an important public health topic today. Several gas species (criteria pollutants and toxics) along with dust particles (PM10 and PM2.5) are monitored on a continuous basis and the results are published by state and local air quality agencies.
One of the gases regularly monitored is ‘bad’ ozone, or ground-level ozone. Unlike ‘good’ ozone which resides in the upper atmosphere and protects us from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays, ground-level ozone is harmful and created when Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emitted from motor vehicle exhaust, industrial facilities, solvent vapors and other man-based processes, react in the presence of sunlight. This type of ozone can cause a variety of health-related problems in people, animals, plants and sensitive ecosystems.
Increased knowledge of the effects of ozone on human health and our environment has created a demand for low cost ambient ozone sensors that can be easily installed in neighborhoods and communities across the world. These low cost sensors typically use electrochemical or heated metal oxide measurement technologies, which are simple, portable, very low cost, and consume little power.
However, these low cost sensors are also prone to common interferences such as variations in ambient temperature, relative humidity, and the presence of other gases which can lead to errors in the assessment of ambient ozone concentrations. Thus, when ambient levels of ozone measured by these sensors are compared to the data collected by local regulatory agencies, there can be noticeable differences. The discrepancy in measurements can incite a call to the air quality agency in the form of a complaint. The agency is then forced to deploy certified ozone monitors to verify the agency readings are correct. These certified instruments utilize more accurate UV-absorption technology; however, they are large and require infrastructure to be set up and operated properly.
A quick, simple and more cost-effective solution is needed.
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