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PhD project: Viable Low-cost Sensors - Improvements to Low-cost Sensor Technology to Provide Accurate and Stable Measurements for Multiple Uses

University: Aarhus University

Department: Department of Environmental Science

Section:  Atmospheric measurements

Research group: Danish Big Data Centre for Environment and Health (BERTHA)

Supervisor(s):  Ole Hertel

(Co-supervisor(s):) Johan A. Schmidt, Hasse C. Knap

Project term: 01.10.2019 – 01.10.2022

Master’s degree: MSc in Chemistry, specialization in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Air pollution is one of the greatest hazards to human health and quality of life in the world today. With 1 in 8 of all deaths being linked to air pollution it is the single largest environmental health risk in many regions. Over 92% of the world’s population live in places where air quality fails to meet WHO limits. In order to better understand the depth and breadth of the problem, and to effectively harness pollution control technologies, accurate sensor networks and epidemiological studies are needed. Current sensor networks stations have high initial investment and maintenance costs, this limits their deployment density.


The project will involve designing and testing improvements to low-cost sensors for selected atmospheric pollutants in order to make the sensors viable for city-wide monitoring and epidemiological studies, producing accurate data with high spatio-temporal resolution. Throughout the project the sensors will be used for small-scale studies to gather data and iteratively improve the sensors. Eventually the sensors will be used for epidemiological studies in collaboration with existing Danish cohort studies.


Lab studies of sensor performance and performance improvements will be conducted before undertaking field calibrations and exposure assessments using the sensors developed.


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