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Excellent Science INNOVATION
Sensors capable of monitoring atmospheric radicals for real time detection of air quality
Market Maturity: Exploring
These are innovations that are actively exploring value creation opportunities. Learn more
Market Creation Potential
This innovation was assessed by the JRC’s Market Creation Potential indicator framework as having a Very high” level of Market Creation Potential. Only innovations that are showing multiple signals of market creation potential are assigned a value under this indicator system. Learn more
Women-led innovation
A woman had a leadership role in developing this innovation in at least one of the Key Innovator organisations listed below.
Go to Market needs
Needs that, if addressed, can increase the chances this innovation gets to (or closer to) the market incude:
  • Prepare for Market entry
  • Scale-up market opportunities
Location of Key Innovators developing this innovation
Key Innovators
Higher Education Institute / Research Centre
Dresden, DE
Higher Education Institute / Research Centre
Cork, IE
Higher Education Institute / Research Centre
UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDG)
This innovation contributes to the following SDG(s)
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

The UN explains: "Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers responsible for child and maternal mortality.

Major progress has also been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

However, many more efforts are needed to control a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues."

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The UN explains: "Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts."

The EU-funded Research Project
This innovation was developed under the Horizon 2020 project RADICAL with an end date of 31/10/2024
  • Read more about this project on CORDIS
Description of Project RADICAL
Atmospheric radicals, particularly hydroxyl (•OH) and nitrate radicals (•NO3), are the drivers of chemical processes that determine atmospheric composition and thus influence local and global air quality and climate. Current techniques for measuring radicals are based on spectroscopic and mass spectrometric methods, which are technically complex, cumbersome and expensive. As a result, the measurement of atmospheric radicals is far-from-routine and only a few research groups worldwide can perform them in a very limited number of geographic locations. There is therefore a clear need to develop new radical detection techniques which are much easier to implement and deploy than existing methods. The central aim of RADICAL is to develop and deliver the science and technology to electrically detect and quantify, for the first time, short lived •OH and •NO3 radicals in the atmosphere via new, low-cost and easily accessible Si junctionless nanowire transistor (Si JNT) devices. These devices will lead to improved monitoring and control of air quality and better predictions of climate change. Three breakthrough science and technology targets have been identified: 1) fabrication and functionalisation of arrays of Si JNTs for the selective and highly sensitive electrical detection of •OH and •NO3 radicals, 2) electrical detection of atmospheric •OH and •NO3 radicals under a range of laboratory conditions and 3) evaluation and validation of the radical detectors under realistic conditions in an atmospheric simulation chamber and via deployment in the ambient atmosphere. Expertise in electronics, computer modelling, materials and surface science, nanofabrication, radical chemistry and atmospheric science is integrated on a pan-European level to achieve the overall aim of the project. This knowledge developed in RADICAL has the potential to bring about a dramatic breakthrough in air quality and climate monitoring, leading to health benefits for European citizens.

Innnovation Radar's analysis of this innovation is based on data collected on 27/10/2021.
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