Low-power, open-path mobile sensing platform for high-resolution measurements of greenhouse gases and air pollutants

Lei Tao, Kang Sun, David J. Miller, Dan Pan, Levi M. Golston, Mark Andrew Zondlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A low-power mobile sensing platform has been developed with multiple open-path gas sensors to measure the ambient concentrations of greenhouse gases and air pollutants with high temporal and spatial resolutions over extensive spatial domains. The sensing system consists of four trace gas sensors including two custom quantum cascade laser-based open-path sensors and two LICOR open-path sensors to measure CO2, CO, CH4, N2O, NH3, and H2O mixing ratios simultaneously at 10 Hz. In addition, sensors for meteorological and geolocation data are incorporated into the system. The system is powered by car batteries with a low total power consumption (~200 W) and is easily transportable due to its low total mass (35 kg). Multiple measures have been taken to ensure robust performance of the custom, open-path sensors located on top of the vehicle where the optics are exposed to the harsh on-road environment. The mobile sensing system has been integrated and installed on top of common passenger vehicles and participated in extensive field campaigns (>400 h on-road time with >18,000 km total distance) in both the USA and China. The simultaneous detection of multiple trace gas species makes the mobile sensing platform a unique and powerful tool to identify and quantify different emission sources through mobile mapping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Physics B: Lasers and Optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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