Photonics for clean air

Clean Air Day website

Photonics for CLEAN AIR

By using the power of light, we can effectively monitor air quality

The importance of clean air

Clean air is essential for maintaining good health. Air pollution, especially of prolonged exposure, can have severe health effects and are associated with for instance respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and lung cancer. 

Clean air is also vital for preserving ecosystems and protecting wildlife. Air pollution can harm plant life, disrupt ecosystems, and contribute to acid rain, which can damage forests, bodies of water, and aquatic life. Reducing air pollution helps safeguard the environment and biodiversity. 

Therefore, it is crucial to monitor air quality and take action to prevent (further) exposure to poor air quality. Photonics plays a key role in the monitoring of air quality and in identifying the type of pollution as well as its source. 

The role of photonics

Photonics-based sensors can be designed to detect specific gases in the air, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). They can determine the presence and concentration of specific molecules based on their unique spectral fingerprints, which are specific absorption or emission patterns. 

Detection systems require a spectrometer or sensor that operates in the specific wavelength range corresponding to the gases that are being measured. For instance, CO2 has strong absorption bands in the infrared (IR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. SO2, on the other hand, has absorption bands in the ultraviolet (UV) and visible regions of the spectrum. 

LiDAR can be used to monitor air quality over large areas and can provide real-time data on air quality. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and detect objects and can be used to identify pollution sources and track changes over time.

Photonics also enables the efficient transmission of data, which allows for fast and reliable transmission on air quality data from monitoring stations to decision-makers and the public, enhancing public awareness and allowing for quick response to deteriorating air quality.

Want to know more?

Want to get in touch with companies supplying components or systems for air quality monitoring?

Contact us at


Photonics for earth preservation

By harnessing the power of light, we can develop sustainable solutions to various environmental challenges.

In this post we are highlighting some of the ways photonics can contribute to preserving the planet:


Renewable Energy

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology converts sunlight into electricity, providing a clean and sustainable energy source. Improved photonic materials and devices can increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar panels, making solar energy more competitive with traditional energy sources.


Energy-efficient lighting

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are energy-efficient lighting technologies that consume less power and last longer than traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Widespread adoption of these technologies can reduce overall energy consumption.


Environmental monitoring

Photonic sensors can be used to detect and measure pollutants, greenhouse gases, and other environmental hazards in the air, water, and soil. This data can be used to identify sources of pollution, monitor the impact and provide important input for environmental policies and mitigation measures.


Precision agriculture

Photonic sensors and imaging technologies can be used to monitor soil, water, and crop health, allowing farmers to optimize the use of resources such as water, fertilizers, and pesticides. This can lead to higher crop yields, reduced environmental impact, and more sustainable agricultural practices.


Green networks

Optical communication technologies, such as fiber optics, can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional copper-based communication networks. Additionally, photonic integrated circuits can enable faster and more energy-efficient data processing in data centers, further reducing their environmental impact.


Clean manufacturing

By using laser-based methods, manufacturers can minimize waste, reduce material consumption, and eliminate the need for toxic chemicals used in traditional processing techniques. Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing methods enables complex and customized components, while reducing waste compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing methods.