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The Importance of Air Quality in Environmental Sensing Solutions

In this interview AZoNetwork speaks to Sensirion about The Importance of Air Quality in Environmental Sensing Solutions how what they provide to help support this.

What is environmental sensing and how important is air quality?

Environmental sensing means measuring parameters of the environment, and air quality parameters are among the most relevant for human beings among them. The importance of air quality has many aspects because environmental conditions define how human beings perceive the environment and also their health and well-being. There are parameters like temperature, humidity, but also volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, or CO2, which are highly relevant for the health and wellbeing of human beings.

How is air quality tested?

There are several technologies available that allow us to measure air quality. Depending on which environmental parameter we want to test, we're employing different physical and chemical measurement technologies, including metal oxide gas sensing, NDIR absorption technologies for gases such as CO2, and stray light or light scattering for counting particulate matter and defining particulate size. The way to measure air quality depends on what parameters we're looking for.

What are the different types of sensors that are available for testing air quality?

Sensirion currently offers four types of environmental sensors. We have temperature and humidity combined sensors and metal oxide based volatile organic compound sensors are available. Here at the trade show, we're launching our latest particulate matter (PM2.5) sensor. Furthermore, we feature in our portfolio a CO2 sensor combined with a humidity and temperature sensor, which measures three parameters in parallel.

What are the key components that are needed for an effective optical sensor such as a particulate matter sensor?

Optical systems and dust do not work well together. By definition a dust sensor needs to measure dust but it is based on an optical sensor principle. The key technologies and know-how that you need for such sensors are a deep understanding of measurement technology itself and knowledge of fluid dynamics such as how you bring the flow and the dust through the optical system without contaminating it. Fluid management is one of the core competencies of Sensirion, enabling the SPS30 particulate matter sensor maintenance free operation over its lifetime.

What does Sensirion currently provide to help enable this?

Regarding effective optical sensors, we have two sensors that are based on optical principles. There is the NDIR CO2 sensing device, as well as the particulate matter light scattering device. Sensirion has its own CMOS® Technology to detect the required optical light wavelength in the near IR spectral reengineer IR.

Sensirion is a 20-year-old flow specialist company. Managing and mastering the fluid dynamics of a system like the particulate matter sensor is key. Sensirion has the detector technologies that are required, as well as the know-how on fluid dynamics to make such systems work properly.

What  applications can this be used in?

Since there is always an environmental industry, applications to measure environmental parameters are ubiquitous. Many industries can use environmental sensing technologies. Many peoples are talking about their air quality at home, which demands new applications for air quality measurements. Beyond that, in all kinds of smart city applications, there are use cases where people are interested in knowing outdoor pollution levels. Sensirion sensors can be embedded to measure environmental parameters and therefore add value to either specific devices in use or to the whole system, such as a smart home or an IOT environment.

How do you help your customers achieve their goals with your products and your support from Sensirion?

Sensirion focuses on having a deep understanding of the customer's application, and what the customer wants to do with our sensor. With this kind of insight, we are able to help them integrate the sensor technology ideally suited to the application.

Alongside that, we support our customers not only with the sensors itself but also with support for integration and industrialization.

What are your plans moving forward with environmental sensing for Sensirion?

Environmental sensors are a very important topic, and it will become more important in the future as populations and cities are growing steadily. This makes it increasingly important to understand air quality and get a good picture of air quality via environmental sensing.

Sensirion has a focus on environmental sensing and as an innovative pioneer, we're always looking for new sensor technologies so that our customers can develop their own innovative applications which improve health and thus quality of life for living beings.

About Pascal Gerner

Pascal Gerner

Pascal Gerner has twelve years of experience in sales, marketing and product management of semiconductor sensor solutions. He received his M.Sc. in inorganic chemistry and a Ph.D. in laser spectroscopy from the University of Berne. Mr. Gerner acts currently as Director Product Management at Sensirion AG.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

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