Atmospheric Chemistry and Composition Group
Prof. Mark A. Zondlo
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Center for Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment
Princeton University

Mobile Open-path Sensing Platform

Air quality concerns and climate change have drawn increasing attention to greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. The spatial and temporal distributions of these trace gases are critical for understanding their sources and sinks. Existing technologies are either too cumbersome or low sensitivity for precise, fine-scale monitoring.

We have developed a mobile platform that measures multiple important trace gases (including CO2, CO, CH4, C2H6, H2O, N2O and NH3) with open-path portable gas sensors using near-infrared (IR) and mid-IR lasers as light sources. Our mobile platform can be readily installed in passenger vehicles. The first version of the multi-gas mobile platform, described in more detail here, showed very promising performance giving new insights for local scale urban and agricultural emissions in field campaigns such as DISCOVER-AQ and CARE-BEIJING NCP in 2013 and 2014. The mobile platform was used successfully to perform trace gas measurements for more than 7000 kilometers and 140 hours.

As a further development, we recently acquired an all-electric vehicle to eliminate any concerns of self-emissions from the car's own tailpipe. This is especially beneficial in cities, where low speeds and stop-and-go conditions are common. The new platform, outfitted with both commercial and custom sensors, will be used in our upcoming field campaigns.

In the News:
Mobile Laboratories Measure Air Quality in Houston (Sept. 2013)
Mobile air sensor lab takes a California road trip (Feb. 2013)

Electric mobile platform with Zondlo Group outside of Princeton's Andlinger Center.

Mobile open-path sensors deployed in October 2017, from left to right: CO2/H2O, N2O, CH4, C2H6, NH3, Met., GPS.