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Ocean Optics
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Largo, Florida, USA

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Duiven, The Netherlands

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+33 442-386-588

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Ostfildern, Germany

+49 711-34-16-96-0

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+44 1865-819922

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Air Quality Monitoring with the Spark Spectral Sensor

Solutions in Action

The Challenge: 

By some industry estimates, more than a billion motor vehicles worldwide are now on the road, with that number likely to double in the next 20 years. The emissions those cars, trucks and buses spew into the environment affect air quality, contribute to smog that chokes our largest cities, and potentially risk our health from the exposure. Being able to monitor the effects of vehicle exhaust and other sources of pollution efficiently and affordably can be challenging.

The Application:

To demonstrate the power of spectroscopy to monitor air quality, we created an experimental setup showing open-path transmission measurements of simulated vehicle emissions on a mock-up of a city street. We used the Spark spectral sensor and Maya2000 Pro spectrometer with an HL-2000 tungsten halogen light source for the measurements.

As the car exhaust in our demo setup increased, transmission – and thus, air quality – decreased. We tracked this as the “Air Quality Index” in our experiment, with the higher values indicating poorer air quality. OceanView spectroscopy software tracked “Air Quality Index” values throughout the experiment to provide time-based data for air quality (see screen capture). The Visible air quality measurements shown here are indicative of particulate concentration only. UV-Vis measurements are needed to identify the actual pollutants present.  Learn more about our air quality demonstration.

The Solution: 

With spectral devices such as Spark, environmental regulatory agencies and others charged with monitoring air quality can deploy a sensor network directly at the source of suspected pollutants. This will provide valuable information on air quality unobtrusively and in real time.

Maya and Spark air quality demo web

The ultra-compact Spark is easily embedded into handheld devices or mounted on remote sensing vehicles, bringing the instrument to the environment. Customization within OceanView could be used to track changes in air quality over time, improving air quality forecasting so actions can be taken and warnings posted for those at risk.

Maya and Spark Air Quality Monitoring Screenshot copy

About the Spark Spectral Sensor:  

This solid-state optical sensor bridges the spectral measurement gap between filter-based devices such as RGB color sensors and CCD-array instruments such as the Maya2000 Pro. Spark covers the spectral range from 380-700 nm and is available in three formats – a core spectral sensor product and two embeddable, OEM-friendly versions – with the level of integration up to the customer.  



Learn more about other Solutions in Action and popular spectrometers for OEM applications.