Researchers at TU Graz in Austria have for the first time ever succeeded in visualizing at the single-molecule level the processes involved in a biological nanomachine, known as the cellulosome, as it degrades crystalline cellulose. The fundamental insights thus obtained could support susta ... more
Technological innovation: The smallest particle sensor in the world
Compact and energy-efficient sensor for mobile devices, informs in real time about the fine dust content in the air and warns in case of elevated values
It is slightly smaller than two one-cent coins stacked on top of each other, is particularly energy-efficient due to its size, requires no maintenance and can be integrated in mobile devices. It is the smallest particle sensor in the world. With this 12 x 9 x 3 millimetre innovation, smartphones, smart watches or fitness wristbands can for the first time measure the quality of the ambient air in real time and sound the alarm in the event of increased fine dust values.
The sensor was developed by Paul Maierhofer as part of his dissertation at the Institute of Electrical Measurement and Sensor Systems at Graz University of Technology together with experts from the semiconductor manufacturer ams AG and with researchers from Silicon Austria Labs (SAL). The development was based on well-known methods of conventional measuring instruments as well as modern manufacturing and integration methods, which brought the project team together in an innovation process. The innovation is the miniaturization itself, as Maierhofer explains: "The sensor is right at the limit of what is physically and technically feasible and involves a lot of tricks to function at this size."
Adapting behaviour to ambient air
The immense social benefit of this new innovative particle sensor is obvious. According to a study by the European Environment Agency (EEA), over 400,000 people die prematurely every year in Europe alone as a result of particulate matter pollution. With the help of wearables equipped with the new particle sensor, each and every individual can monitor the ambient air and react immediately in the case of health-endangering fine dust values. "For example, by avoiding particularly polluted routes when jogging or on the daily commute to work," says Alexander Bergmann, head of the Institute of Electrical Measurement and Sensor Systems at TU Graz and doctoral supervisor of Paul Maierhofer.
Improving air quality
Not only in wearables, the sensor can also be integrated in local applications – both in the home and outdoors – and thus provides an unprecedented variety of measured values. Bergmann is convinced that this represents a break from the past in air quality monitoring: "Close-meshed and comprehensive monitoring of air quality has so far failed due to the size, complexity and cost of currently available measuring sensors. Our particle sensor fills a gap here." The data obtained can serve as a basis for further regulatory measures and raise public awareness of the particulate matter problem.
The series production aimed at by semiconductor manufacturer ams is intended to achieve a price that is significantly lower than the currently available sensors.
- particle sensors
- fine dust measuring…
- air analytics
- real-time analyses
- air quality
Markus Koch, head of the research group Femtosecond Dynamics at the Institute of Experimental Physics at TU Graz, and his team develop new methods for time-resolved femtosecond laser spectroscopy to investigate ultrafast processes in molecular systems. In 2018 the group demonstrated for the ... more
Researchers from Graz University of Technology and the University of Vienna are demonstrating for the first time how the energy flow between strongly interacting molecular states can be better described. Since the 1990s, femtochemistry has been researching ultrafast processes at the molecul ... more
- New imaging method reveals HIV's sugary shield in unprecedented detail
- Animal-based research: Scientists develop new experimental design for an imp ...
- World record resolution in cryo-electron microscopy
- Nanopatterns of proteins detected by cryo-electron microscopy
- New tool helps to ‘spot the difference’ in genome organisation