Photonic sensors for air quality and beyond

Centre for Air pollution, energy, and health Research (CAR) hosted “Photonic sensors for air quality and beyond: NSW Smart Sensing Network” on 29 July as part of its seminar series. 

The webinar highlighted recent success stories that showcased how NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN) delivers benefits to its members. The NSW Smart Sensing Network brings together smart sensing expertise in academia, industry and government to deliver economic and social benefits for NSW. The webinar featured an in-depth look at one project: the deployment of custom optical air quality sensors for monitoring particulate matter, describing data collected, how well the sensors performed, and challenges that remain.

NSSN environment and agriculture research themes leader Dr Tomonori Hu and NSSN co-Director Professor Benjamin Eggleton delivered the webinar to an audience of researchers and experts from fields such as health, modelling, statistics and epidemiological studies. 

“One thing that differentiates our work to the many others in NSW is that we are not just taking off the shelf sensors and putting them together; instead we are building every component ground up, so we understand every bit of data that is produced,” said Tomonori Hu. “The strength of the sensors we developed was in measuring smaller particles, where traditional methods may struggle.” 

Benjamin Eggleton initiated the webinar with a note on nanoscience – “next giant leap is seriously small.” He emphasised that sensing is big business, and NSSN is ready to solve various problems in sensing. As well as being co-Director of NSSN, Benjamin is the Director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute and founding Director of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science at the University of Sydney and served as Director from 2009 to 2018.

Tomonori is an expert in mid-infrared fibre lasers and spectroscopy and is interested in the translation of academic technologies to industry. He leads a group at the University of Sydney working on optical sensor technologies related to measuring air quality.

Shahrzad Abbasi