Using infrared spectroscopy, invisible pollutant gases can be identified and quantified. In this image, regions of high methane concentration are indicated in red.

5 million Euro for photonic air pollution monitoring

Monday 01 Mar 21
by Tobias Sydradal Lund


Ole Bang
Professor, Group Leader
DTU Electro
+45 45 25 63 73

The TRIAGE project, which starts in March 2021, will receive 5 million Euro (approx. DKK 37 million) in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The grant is to be used for the project “Ultra-broadband infrared gas sensor for pollution detection”. In this article, Professor Ole Bang from DTU Fotonik, leader of the TRIAGE project, answers four questions on the project and its objectives.

What do you think is most exciting about the research in the TRIAGE project?

TRIAGE will apply the latest smart photonic sensing for environmental air pollution monitoring. It will be able to detect minute traces of molecules in complex gas mixtures and provide real-time information and analysis. Infrared radiation (from 2-10 µm) is part of what is known as the ‘fingerprint’ region. It is superb for identifying and quantifying lots of important pollutant gases, but it is difficult and expensive to make the right kind of sources and detectors to do the job. In TRIAGE we will apply new supercontinuum sources and mid-IR detection systems, combined with machine learning to quickly analyse and process the data. We think that we can do this better, and much cheaper than it is possible with current technology.

"We envisage a network of fixed TRIAGE units mounted on public buildings as well as mobile ones fitted to buses and trains"
Ole Bang, Professor, DTU Fotonik

How can this research be used for the benefit of society?

Our system will be low cost and portable, and we envisage a network of fixed TRIAGE units mounted on public buildings as well as mobile ones fitted to buses and trains. All the data from the network will be automatically combined and processed to give a map of air quality in real-time. This information can be used for long-term monitoring, but also for rapid emergency warnings when local hot spots appear.

When do you expect the first results?

TRIAGE is a three year project, so we don’t expect the main results until 2023-24, but we plan to do some preliminary trials within the first year. We will adapt hardware from another Horizon 2020 project called FLAIR which is based on a supercontinuum source with a shorter wavelength range (2-5 µm). The results won’t be as good as the full 2-10 µm TRIAGE solution, but it will be a good way to get the data collection system and the analysis algorithms up and running.

What do you hope to achieve from the results?

In the long-term, we would like to establish an international network based on this technology. Yes, of course, that sounds ambitious, but we think that air pollution monitoring will become increasingly important for governments and local authorities in the coming years as the legislation in this area becomes stricter. During the project, we will work with important players in the field to try to get the TRIAGE technology recognised and adopted. These include national bodies like the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Hydrological and Meteorological Institute, local government including the Service de l’énergie et de l’environement (SENE) in Switzerland and big industrial companies including Siemens AG. We hope that this will get us a good foothold for the big push after the project.

Read more and keep up-to-date with the project's progress:

The TRIAGE consortium

  • DTU, Denmark, Coordinator
  • NKT Photonics, Denmark
  • Radboud University, The Netherlands
  • Senseair, Sweden
  • CSEM, Switzerland
  • NORBLIS, Denmark
  • VIGO, Poland
  • Linköping University, Sweden
  • Vivid Components, UK

This project has received funding from Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under grant agreement No. 101015825, and is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership (


Photonics Public Private Partnership

News and filters

Get updated on news that match your filter.