Characteristics and applications of small, portable gaseous air pollution monitors

McKercher, GR, Salmond JA, Vanos JK.  2017.  Characteristics and applications of small, portable gaseous air pollution monitors. Environmental Pollution. 223:102-110.

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Air pollution, carbon-monoxide, heart-rate-variability, low-cost, Low-cost sensors, monitoring, nitrogen-dioxide, Ozone, particles, particulate matter, personal exposure, quality, Sensors, ultrafine, Urban pollution


Background: Traditional approaches for measuring air quality based on fixed measurements are inadequate for personal exposure monitoring. To combat this issue, the use of small, portable gas-sensing air pollution monitoring technologies is increasing, with researchers and individuals employing portable and mobile methods to obtain more spatially and temporally representative air pollution data. However, many commercially available options are built for various applications and based on different technologies, assumptions, and limitations. A review of the monitor characteristics of small, gaseous monitors is missing from current scientific literature. Purpose: A state-of-the-art review of small, portable monitors that measure ambient gaseous outdoor pollutants was developed to address broad trends during the last 5-10 years, and to help future experimenters interested in studying gaseous air pollutants choose monitors appropriate for their application and sampling needs. Methods: Trends in small, portable gaseous air pollution monitor uses and technologies were first identified and discussed in a review of literature. Next, searches of online databases were performed for articles containing specific information related to performance, characteristics, and use of such monitors that measure one or more of three criteria gaseous air pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide. All data were summarized into reference tables for comparison between applications, physical features, sensing capabilities, and costs of the devices. Results: Recent portable monitoring trends are strongly related to associated applications and audiences. Fundamental research requires monitors with the best individual performance, and thus the highest cost technology. Monitor networking favors real-time capabilities and moderate cost for greater reproduction. Citizen science and crowdsourcing applications allow for lower-cost components; however important strengths and limitations for each application must be addressed or acknowledged for the given use. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.