Air quality monitoring using mobile microscopy and machine learning

Yi-Chen Wu, Ashutosh Shiledar, Yi-Cheng Li, Jeffrey Wong, Steve Feng, Xuan Chen, Christine Chen, Kevin Jin, Saba Janamian, Zhe Yang, Zachary Scott Ballard, Zoltán Göröcs, Alborz Feizi, Aydogan Ozcan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Rapid, accurate and high-throughput sizing and quantification of particulate matter (PM) in air is crucial for monitoring and improving air quality. In fact, particles in air with a diameter of ≤2.5 μm have been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. Here we present a field-portable cost-effective platform for high-throughput quantification of particulate matter using computational lens-free microscopy and machine-learning. This platform, termed c-Air, is also integrated with a smartphone application for device control and display of results. This mobile device rapidly screens 6.5 L of air in 30 s and generates microscopic images of the aerosols in air. It provides statistics of the particle size and density distribution with a sizing accuracy of ~93%. We tested this mobile platform by measuring the air quality at different indoor and outdoor environments and measurement times, and compared our results to those of an Environmental Protection Agency–approved device based on beta-attenuation monitoring, which showed strong correlation to c-Air measurements. Furthermore, we used c-Air to map the air quality around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) over 24 h to confirm that the impact of LAX on increased PM concentration was present even at >7 km away from the airport, especially along the direction of landing flights. With its machine-learning-based computational microscopy interface, c-Air can be adaptively tailored to detect specific particles in air, for example, various types of pollen and mold and provide a cost-effective mobile solution for highly accurate and distributed sensing of air quality.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e17046-e17046
Number of pages1
JournalLight: Science & Applications
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017
Externally publishedYes


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