Today, air pollution is one of the major health hazards with an estimated 7 million people killed every year and adversely affecting the health of many. Every minute, one child dies due to illness caused by air pollution and ten adults die due to polluted air inhaled during their lifetime. 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed exposure limits. These facts should cause us to pause and think such a huge impact! Yet, air pollution measurements are limited for much of the world. Current solutions relay on deploying millions of sensing devices for monitoring large areas, which can be expensive to implement. As the result, they haven't been implemented in many parts of the globe. There is thus an urgent need for a new monitoring technology that can easily be implemented for tackling the global air pollution.
This project addresses this need by exploring a new air quality monitoring paradigm using 5G (and beyond) massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas to simultaneously sense multiple pollutants using novel sensing materials deployed on the antenna surfaces. The idea is to deploy case-tailored sensing nanomaterials on the antenna element surfaces each targeting a specific analyte using a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer layer grown above a highly conductive 2D transduction nanomaterial layer. This may enable massive MIMO with additional sensing capability without affecting its primary functionalities. The concept may also be extended for sensing other environmental analytes such as hazardous biochemical agents, airborne bacteria and viruses, and analytes in fluids.
Massive MIMO will be the mainstream feature for future cellular networks, in few years it will be deployed everywhere. Thus, the project if successful, will enable massive scale air quality monitoring at high spatial resolution without deploying millions of sensing devices. This will revolutionize in the way air quality monitoring is done around the globe.
This project explores a new air quality monitoring paradigm utilizing the fifth generation (5G) massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna infrastructure to simultaneously sense multiple pollutants using novel sensing materials deployed on the antenna surfaces. The idea is to deploy case-tailored sensing nanomaterials on the antenna element surfaces with each targeting a specific analyte using a Molecular Imprinting Polymer (MIP) layer grown above a highly conductive 2D transduction nanomaterial layer. The MIP functionalized transduction nanomaterial over the antenna surface could act as tunable impedance with the impedance value determined by the presence of the target molecules. Sensing is done by monitoring the changes in the impedances between the antenna elements and the load termination in the adaptive impedance matching network. The proposed concept could enable massive MIMO antenna system with an additional sensing functionality without affecting its primary functionalities. By properly designing the physico-chemical composition of the sensing materials, the impedance can be made to respond in a specific way to target pollutants concentrations, which can be decoupled from other mismatch sources using machine learning techniques. The approach is applicable for any multi-antenna system where the antenna elements (same or all) can be functionalized to target a specific pollutant.
The ambition is to create a new generation of dual functionality massive MIMO antenna system that is used not only for wireless operations, but also have a secondary functionality of multi-pollutant sensing. The concept can also be extended to apply for other environmental analytes such as hazardous chemical/biological agents, airborne bacteria and viruses as well as for fluidic analytes (utilizing microfluidics). If successful, the project will revolutionize air quality monitoring enabling a cost-effective sensing of multiple pollutants using massive MIMO antenna systems.