Improving Air Quality Monitoring with Advanced Pressure Sensors

Air Quality Blog Post

Importance of Accurate Air Quality Measurements

The significance of air quality is becoming increasingly apparent in today’s society, as it encompasses a variety of concerns such as airborne illnesses, pollution, allergens, and gas emissions. As a result, it is essential to accurately assess and ensure the safety of the air we inhale. Organizations rely on air quality measuring equipment to detect particles and other hazardous elements present in the air.

The measurement of air quality falls within the wide category of HVAC systems, which includes various applications such as

  1. monitoring the quality of air and its flow in air filtration systems,
  2. detecting and limiting exposure to hazardous fumes, vapors, or dust through fume hood monitors,
  3. ensuring dust or other particles do not contaminate laboratory or manufacturing facilities in clean room environments,
  4. detecting levels of carbon monoxide, radon, carbon dioxide, and smog through respective detectors,
  5. providing early detection of a potential fire through smoke detectors and
  6. measuring levels of outdoor pollutants (see Figure 1) – to see real-time air quality scores throughout the world, click here.

This is only a partial list of the numerous use cases for accurately measuring air quality.

LA smog

Figure 1 – Air Pollution and Impact on Health

The Role of Pressure Sensors in Assessing Air Quality

In assessing air quality, differential pressure sensors play a crucial role. These sensors can detect and measure the pressure exerted by various gases and particles in the air. By analyzing pressure changes, they provide valuable information about the composition and quality of the air we breathe.

The use of pressure sensors for air quality assessment is based on their ability to measure air pressure. By converting the physical force exerted by air molecules into an electrical signal, pressure sensors can detect even the most minor changes in air pressure, providing precise air quality readings.

Furthermore, pressure sensors effectively detect a broad range of contaminants in the air, such as gases, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). By monitoring pressure fluctuations caused by these contaminants, they assist in assessing overall air quality and identifying potential health hazards.

Superior’s System-in-a-Sensor: Better Performance and Lower System Cost

With the aim of creating a game-changing technology, Superior Sensor has successfully developed the NimbleSenseTM architecture. This integrated platform, a first in the industry, features a sophisticated pressure-sensing system that seamlessly integrates an ADC and DSP in the sensor module. This cutting-edge architecture has proven beneficial, providing faster response times, improved accuracy, and lower system costs. Moreover, it has facilitated the development of application-specific building blocks, which have enabled the creation of the HV Series of differential pressure sensors for the HVAC market. These sensors utilize a set of specialized building blocks optimized for air quality applications, enhancing their performance and functionality.

Accuracy & Reliability

The HV Series boasts the highest accuracy and unparalleled reliability in monitoring air quality and other HVAC applications. It guarantees accuracy within 0.10% of the chosen pressure range, long-term stability of 0.10%, and Total Error Band (TEB) within 0.15% of FSS. These exceptional numbers speak volumes about the precision and reliability of the HV Series in detecting air quality levels.

One feature that makes the HV Series a top-of-the-line device is its integrated advanced digital filtering technology. The multi-order filter eliminates critical noise created by fans, blowers, or other dry air/gas sources before they can impact system performance. This technology effectively reduces system noise levels by ten times or more, enabling the sensor to provide highly accurate readings.

Additionally, the NimbleSense architecture offers an optional integrated closed-loop control feature that improves the air quality system’s reliability and speed. This capability directly controls motors, valves, and actuators, significantly reducing feedback loop delays. The integration of this building block simplifies product design, reduces system power/heat, and further enhances the system’s overall accuracy.

Reduction in System Costs

Our NimbleSense architecture boasts several innovative features, among which our Multi-RangeTM technology is particularly noteworthy. This unique technology enables one sensor to replace multiple sensors, making it incredibly versatile. Specifically, our HV Series supports up to 8 different pressure ranges, with each range factory-calibrated and optimized to ensure maximum accuracy and stability, regardless of the range selected. The HV Series offers an impressive total of 12 pressure ranges, spanning from 25 Pa (0.1” H2O) to 15 kPa (60” H2O). Figure 2 illustrates the superiority of our HV Series over typical differential pressure sensors.

HV160 Multi Range Comparison

Figure 2 – HV Series Multi-Range Technology Comparison

The Multi-Range feature offers the ability to swiftly adjust pressure ranges while the device is in use, making it possible for one system to serve multiple functions in the field. Additionally, Multi-Range expedites manufacturers’ release of product variations while minimizing inventory expenses and reducing the risk of product obsolescence, as only one SKU needs to be kept in stock.

Superior’s System-in-a-Sensor approach integrates advanced functions and multiple pressures in a single device, simplifying product design and lowering system costs. This approach eliminates the need for externally designed functions using discrete components, resulting in reduced BOM cost, increased reliability, and faster time to market. In addition to the Multi-Range cost savings, the integrated closed-loop control and advanced digital filtering offer further system cost savings. By providing these capabilities directly in the sensor module, Superior Sensors is paving the way for more efficient and streamlined product development.


Air quality measurement devices play a crucial role in accurately detecting dust particles, chemicals, viruses, and other pollutants both indoors and outdoors. As the demand for these devices continues to grow, their reliability becomes increasingly vital. By eliminating unnecessary components, the number of field failures can be reduced. Moreover, configuring air quality devices while in use enhances flexibility and expands their potential applications.

Hv Series Product Family

Figure 3 – HV Series Product Family

The NimbleSense architecture has several building blocks (see Figure 4) that are customized specifically for air quality applications:

  • Multi-Range
  • Closed Loop Control
  • Advanced Digital Filtering

The HV Series consists of four products supporting extremely low to mid differential pressures, as depicted in Figure 3. All sensors, and evaluation kits are available through our distributors. For more detailed information about our air quality and other HVAC solutions please visit our HV Series page. Major worldwide manufacturers such as Johnson Controls and Dwyer Instruments have entrusted Superior Sensor Technology for their HVAC differential pressure sensor needs. 

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