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OSA Incubator on Precision Measurements in Air Quality & Turbulence: From Space-based Observations to Networked, Ground-based Point Sensors

18-20 May 2016
Washington, DC
Hosted By:
Adam J. Fleisher, National Institute of Standards & Technology, United States
Partha Banerjee, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, United States
Jorge E. Pezoa, Universidad de Concepción, Chile

Read more about this meeting on the OSA blog: post 1, post 2, post 3

Incubator Overview
High precision observations of air quality at local, regional and global scales are necessary to advance environmental/climate science, to inform the development of public policy, and to provide a quantitative basis for establishing regulatory compliance. Environments under study can range from the industrial monitoring of individual clean rooms and measurements of atmospheric pollutants (e.g., ozone, mercury, particulates) to the tracking of carbon dioxide on a global scale. Recent advances in optical instrumentation have achieved bold goals for high sensitivity of small molecules and particulates, yet technical challenges still exist in the realization of next-generation sensors, standards, and turbulence theory. This OSA Incubator will specifically address optics and photonics solutions for high precision air quality monitoring, with a focus on instrumentation, measurement traceability, and data assimilation and integration.
New targets for high-precision data retrievals require novel instrumentation to deliver an unprecedented understanding of our constantly evolving surroundings. This timely Incubator will bring together researchers in fundamental physics, applied optics, optical engineering, geophysics, global ecology, and transport theory to evaluate the current state-of-the-art as well as propose future directions for development and design.
Incubator Goals

  1. Bring together scientists from government agencies, academia, and industry to share the current state-of-the-art in optics-based air quality monitoring and transport modeling.

  2. Provide an outline of governing bodies and organizations through which measurements can be standardized and to which measurements should be traceable.

  3. Motivate the development of next-generation sensors and sensor networks by discussing how these technologies (in combination with air transport models) can enable advanced air quality simulations.
  4. Identify high-priority measurement targets and relevant photonics technologies.
  5. Write an OPN article about high-precision environmental measurements with a focus on novel optical instrumentation traceability.
  6. Solicit submissions for a follow-up technical session at an upcoming OSA meeting.

Scope and Featured Topics
This incubator will focus on current and future optical sensors and sensor technologies that are appropriate for the precision measurement of air quality at all spatial and temporal scales, from rooms and buildings to the global atmosphere.  Measurements of both gases and particulates will be discussed.  Special consideration will be given to sensor calibration, measurement precision, and the traceability of measurement results to standards. 
Specific topics and questions to be discussed:

  • Review the status and goals of high-precision measurements currently under way (from satellite missions to networked point sensors).
  • What chemical species are most in need of precision measurements?
  • What standard equipment and techniques need updating, reworking, or reinventing?
  • How can SI traceability in gas-phase sensing be achieved?
  • How are current sensor networks used in urban and rural environments? What is the best way to deploy sensor networks in the future, especially in the light of next-generation sensor technologies?  
  • What are the optimum spatial scales for measurements?
  • What are the optimum temporal scales for measurements?
  • What are the optimal strategies for realizing SI traceability for low-cost, distributed, networked gas phase sensors?
  • What is the potential of crowdsourced measurements?  How would data assimilation and integration be implemented using those measurements?
  • What lab-based measurements are the most valuable to large scale, high-cost monitoring campaigns?
  • Which techniques currently confined to the lab show enough potential to merit commercialization?
Image for keeping the session alive