Andrea Naranjo-Soledad

MIT Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: University of Connecticut

Faculty Mentor: Jesse Kroll

Research Supervisor: Ben Crawford

Website: LinkedIn

2018 Research Poster


Hello! I was born in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to the United States during high school. I’m majoring in Chemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. My research interests are within the fields of renewable energy, environmental engineering, and computational engineering. As a UConn McNair and LSAMP Scholar,  I have been involved in on-campus research projects related to modeling air pollution deposition to different US Watersheds and helping in the development of low-cost, high-efficiency nano-array based diesel oxidation catalysts. My goals are obtaining my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and working in a team that helps preserve the environment and also helps solve the energy and water crisis. I love dancing, reading comics, watching documentaries, and traveling.

2018 Research Abstract

Evaluation of Low-Cost Optical Particle Sensors in the Laboratory and Field.

Andrea Naranjo-Soledad1, Ben Crawford2 and Jesse Kroll3, 4

1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut

2, 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5), made up of particles with diameters of 2.5 microns or less, is an important component of photochemical smog and a major global health concern. When inhaled, these fine particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. The high cost and planning involved with traditional monitoring methods have limited detailed quantification of the spatial and temporal variability of PM2.5. To address this issue, multiple low-cost air quality sensors have become commercially available in recent years. However, the accuracy and performance of these sensors under various conditions are poorly characterized, limiting their utility for air quality monitoring. This project presents field and laboratory evaluations of one widely-used low-cost optical particle sensor, the PLANTOWER PMS5003. Field evaluations, in which sensor readings were compared against co-located regulatory-grade reference monitors, were performed in two contrasting locations in Boston, Massachusetts: a residential area and right beside a major highway. During laboratory evaluations, it was possible to estimate the minimum detection threshold of the sensors and estimate how these sensors calculate PM2.5 levels by using Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) spectrometer readings as reference. In the field evaluation, it was observed that sensor readings were lower than reference readings, but their trends correlated. These findings suggest that it is potentially plausible to have a better understanding on how this sensor calculates PM2.5 values by evaluating its performance under a range of conditions. With this and more laboratory and field evaluations under different conditions, we hope to improve the sensor’s readings in the field.