Hristo Stefanov

Smartcom-Bulgaria AD

A low-cost sensor to electrically detect short-lived atmospheric radicals for the first time

Air pollution is a growing problem that impacts our health, the climate and the ozone layer, but we do not fully understand the underlying chemistry cycles that control air quality.
Short-lived radicals are highly-reactive species possessing an unpaired electron. In the atmosphere, they are formed as by-products from polluting emissions such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone when exposed to sunlight, and it is thought that radicals play a key regulating role in air quality cycles.
In order to fully understand the impact of radicals on air quality and climate change, we need a way of tracking them on a global scale and in real-time.
Currently, detecting and measuring these highly reactive and short-lived radicals remains technically complex, cumbersome and expensive. As a result, only a few labs worldwide can perform such tests.
The aim of our project is to develop a new, low-cost way of measuring short-lived radicals in the atmosphere that can be easily implemented and deployed worldwide.
This will take the form of a state-of-the-art electronic nose that will measure the presence of airborne hydroxyl and nitrate radicals in both indoor and outdoor settings.
The RADICAL project is a collaboration between multidisciplinary partners across Europe including University College of Cork (Ireland), HZDR (Germany), University of York (United Kingdom), National Technical University of Athens (Greece), Smartcom (Bulgaria) and UCC Academy (Ireland).
We have extensive expertise across the fields of material science, computer modelling, nanofabrication and nanoelectronics, as well as organic, radical and atmospheric chemistry.

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