Sensor tech #LikeABosch: world’s smallest particulate matter sensor revolutionizes air quality measurement

Noiseless, fanless, and maintenance-free sensor provides accurate data

by gabi

Clean air is fundamental to our health and well-being. Today, people typically spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, which has a negative long-term impact on health because indoor air is three to five times more polluted than in the outdoor environment in most parts of the world. A major component of this pollution is fine dust known as PM2.5 particulates, which are solid and liquid particles smaller than 2.5 µm. These particulates are inhaled and enter the lungs, where they cause serious health problems.

The most common air quality measurement stations only provide outdoor data averaged over time, which fails to deliver real-time, localized information most relevant to our health.

“Indoor air quality is a problem: in poorly ventilated homes, PM2.5 concentration from domestic cooking can reach levels 100 times higher than acceptable limits,” said Dr. Lucas Ginzinger, Head of Product Area Optics at Bosch Sensortec. “With localized, actionable data from the new BMV080, it’s now possible to identify and respond to poor air quality.”

The BMV080 sensing element measures only 4.2 × 3.5 × 3 mm³ (W × L × H), which is more than 450 times smaller in volume than any comparable device on the market. The miniscule size and fanless, non-intrusive design of the BMV080 are a game-changer, and its noiseless operation means it does not disturb residents who may be sleeping or working.

The new sensor is maintenance-free with no fan-induced dust buildup, which means that it’s more reliable, and less prone to malfunction. It is a natural fit for ultra-compact wearable or IoT devices such as air quality monitors, smart thermostats, smart speakers, smart switches and smart air purifiers.

Comparable state-of-the-art PM2.5 sensors all rely on a fan to draw air across a laser beam, where a photodiode then detects and measures the particulates as they reflect or block the light from the laser. The BMV080 utilizes an innovative design based on ultra-compact lasers with integrated photodiodes. It applies sophisticated algorithms to measure the PM2.5 concentration directly in free space, without requiring a fan.

The innovation brings awareness and choice to people who value healthy living. The new sensor is easily integrated into ultra-compact IoT-based smart home and smart building systems to deliver air quality notifications to residents when PM2.5 levels rise above a threshold level. To take action, the resident or home automation system can ventilate by switching on an exhaust fan or filter to clear the air.

“The BMV080 provides timely, accurate and actionable information about particulate concentration levels in the air, enabling the identification and handling of indoor and outdoor pollution to improve people’s well-being and health,” said Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO at Bosch Sensortec. “It is dramatically smaller than existing devices on the market and opens up an entirely new set of applications for design engineers to explore.”

Availability: Product samples will be available in 2023.

Bosch Sensortec

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