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The impacts of water vapour and co-pollutants on the performance of electrochemical gas sensors used for air quality monitoring

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Publication details

JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Aug 2018
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)674-684
Early online date29/03/18
Original languageEnglish


The analytical performance of low cost air pollution sensors under real-world conditions is a key factor that will influence their future uses and adoption. In this study five different electrochemical gas sensors (O3, SO2, CO, NO, NO2) are tested for their performance when challenged with cross interferences of water vapour and other gaseous co-pollutants. These experiments were conducted under both controlled laboratory conditions and during ambient air monitoring in urban background air at a site in York, UK. Signal outputs for O3, SO2 and CO showed a positive linear dependence on relative humidity (RH). The output for the NO sensor showed a negative correlation. The output for the NO2 sensor showed no trend with RH. Potential co-pollutants (O3, SO2, CO, NO2, NO and CO2) were introduced under controlled conditions using gas standards and delivered to each sensor in series along with variable RH. A matrix of cross-interference sensitivities were established which could be used to correct sensor signals. Interference-corrected sensor responses were compared against reference observations over an 18-day period. Once cross interferences had been removed the corrected 5 min averaging data for O3, CO, NO and NO2 sensors showed good agreement with the reference techniques with r2 values of 0.89, 0.76, 0.72, and 0.69, respectively. The SO2 sensor could not be evaluated in ambient air since ambient SO2 was below the sensor limit of detection.

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.

    Research areas

  • Air quality, Carbon monoxide, Electrochemical gas sensors, Low cost sensors, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone

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