Excellent accuracy and flexible air quality monitoring

Air pollution sensor based on photo-acoustic and photo-thermal interferometry.

Project ID: 101016956
Start date: 1. 1. 2021
End date: 30. 6. 2024
EU cordis link: CORDIS

Argotech’s role

  • Active lens alignment to polymer waveguide chip for black ccarbon sensor – demonstrator
  • Direct integration of laser diode to silicon photonic chips
  • QCL laser packaging
  • Direct coupling chalcogenide fiber to QCL laser chip

Project description

PASSEPARTOUT is a research project aiming to develop compact, photonic-based gas analysers for a smart sensing solution to environmental pollution monitoring in urban areas. It combines expertise on lasers, spectroscopy, data analysis, systems integration, environmental testing and drone operations in a Europe-wide consortium involving both academia and industry.

High levels of toxic gas molecules and particulate matter in the air are responsible for 4.2 million premature deaths per year. Real-time and directly accessible precise data with high spatial resolution about the danger of air pollution is crucial for efficient protection of society and higher awareness of the need for change. Unfortunately, ambient pollutant reference detectors are not reliable enough.

The EU-funded PASSEPARTOUT project will provide the first 3D mobile optical gas analyser network capable of operating in an urban area. By developing and deploying miniature, hyperspectral optical-based sensors based on quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy and photothermal interferometry and interferometric cavity-assisted photothermal spectroscopy, project advances will allow provision of extremely-high-precision information on a wide range of ambient pollutants.


Air pollution in terms of toxic gas molecules and particulate matter is a major cause of morbidity and premature mortality, resulting in an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year. Real time pollution monitoring with high spatial resolution and public alerts is vital to minimise the exposure of the population, particularly the vulnerable, to air pollution. Direct access to high quality, trustworthy data will allow optimisation of daily schedules to reduce exposure. The availability of actionable data, which will, if necessary, stand up in court and with government, will drive long term changes in the behaviour of both the public and industry.
Ambient pollutant reference detectors are impractical for widespread or mobile deployment. Miniature, low cost electrochemical generally are still not stable or sensitive enough for monitoring ambient pollutants reliably.

PASSEPARTOUT will advance the development and deployment of miniature, hyperspectral optical based sensors based on Quartz Enhanced Photo-acoustic Spectroscopy and Photo-Thermal Interferometry for a wide range of ambient pollutants. 

The PASSEPARTOUT optical sensors operate in the mid-IR or NIR spectral range and allow calibration free methodologies as quantification is based on the well-known optical constants of the target analytes and will be compatible with the rigorous certification process. 

PASSEPARTOUT will realise the first 3D mobile optical gas analyser network capable of operating in an urban area. Innovative and high-performance technologies for high accuracy and flexible environmental air quality monitoring will be built into robust drone-mounted, low-cost vehicle-mounted and stationary sensors. 

The network will provide real-time information about the concentration of polluting gases (NOx, SO2, NH3, CH4, CO, CO2) and black carbon within urban areas, around landfills and seaports with extremely high precision and excellent spatial resolution.





This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Grant agreement no. 101016956.