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Laboratory evaluation of particle size-selectivity of optical low-cost particulate matter sensors

Low-cost particulate matter sensors (PM) have been under investigation due to their prospective nature regarding

spatial extension of measurement coverage. While majority of the existing literature highlights that low-cost sensors can be 15 useful in achieving this goal, it is often reminded that the risk of sensor misuse is still high, and that the data obtained from the sensors is only representative of the specific site and its ambient conditions. This implies that there are underlying reasons yet to be characterized which are causing inaccuracies in sensor measurements. The objective of this study was to investigate the particle size-selectivity of low-cost sensors. Evaluated sensors were Plantower PMS5003, Nova SDS011, Sensirion SPS30, Sharp GP2Y1010AU0F, Shinyei PPD42NS, and Omron B5W-ld0101. The investigation of size-selectivity 20 was carried out in laboratory using a novel reference aerosol generation system capable of steadily producing monodisperse particles of different sizes on-line. The results of the study showed that none of the low-cost sensors adhered exactly to the detection ranges declared by the manufacturers, and moreover, cursory comparison to a mid-cost aerosol spectrometer (GRIMM 1.108) indicated that the sensors could only achieve independent responses for 1-2 size bins whereas the spectrometer could sufficiently characterize particles with 15 different size bins. These observations provide insight and

25 evidence to the notion that particle size-selectivity may have an essential role in the error source analysis of sensors.