Monitoring air quality to protect public health – University of Hertfordshire

The University’s Particle Instruments Research Group have worked with a number of businesses to translate their research into commercial devices to monitor air quality. 


The team’s ground-breaking design for a low-cost Optical Particle Counter, was taken up by Essex-based company Alphasense. Since 2015, over 18,000 units have been integrated into air quality monitoring systems in 70 countries. This delivered significant economic impact: at least £53.2m in associated commercial revenues and 32 new jobs. The devices were used by the UN Environment Programme to map air pollution hotspots in the developing world and by World Athletics to monitor the impact of poor air quality on athletes’ health and performance. The devices have also been key to establishing air quality monitoring networks across cities, including three in China with a combined population of 24 million.


With the World Health Organization declaring air pollution a major public health emergency, the impact of this collaboration between the University and industry marks a significant breakthrough, with untapped future potential. 

Find out more on the University of Hertfordshire’s website. 

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