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November 19, 2020

Clearing the Air: New SEMI Working Group to Establish Gas Sensor Standards

The air we breathe is precious yet neglected as anthropogenic pollutants continue to pour into the earth’s atmosphere. Still, there’s hope that greenhouse gas emissions – and the human behavior behind them – can be brought under control for the good of the planet with the help of gas sensors that gauge pollutant levels.

Of the many air pollutants, some are more detrimental to our health than others. Figure 1 lists the top seven pollutants, their chief sources and health effects. The Air Quality Index is calculated by combining values from particles and four gases (carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide). The good news is that gas sensors are available in the market that can monitor each of those pollutants.

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Figure 1 – Top seven pollutants and their health effects. Source: EPA Air Sensor Guidebook


The challenge is that many gas sensor end users today have little understanding of how to compare the performance characteristics of sensors offered by various vendors. SEMI is working to help end users clear that hurdle. SEMI-MSIG this year created a group within its Device Working Group focused on developing gas sensor standards aimed at growing the market and defining guidelines affecting areas including testing methods, reliability requirements, packaging and communication interfaces. Importantly, the standards will also make it easier for end users to make a clear choice among rival products.

Gas sensors PQThe SEMI-MSIG Device Working Group comprises devoted experts from leading gas sensor companies as well as OEMs. We welcome companies involved in deploying gas sensors to join this fast-growing group to improve air quality standards in sectors including residential construction, factory automation, automotive, consumer electronics and healthcare. One potential market is consumer electronics such as smart phones since concerns about air quality is growing among device users.

The MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) Device Working group was formed in early 2019. Its mission is to develop a series of technical specifications, industry standards and best practices for MEMS and Sensor devices and platforms. The goal is to advance the use and expansion of MEMS and sensors worldwide.

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Table 1 – Top seven pollutants and their health effects. Source: EPA Air Sensor Guidebook


In the past, we focused on inertial sensors (See IEEE2700 standard for inertial sensors as an example of an output of this team). In 2020, our focus shifted to gas sensors and we plan to expand our work to include other types of sensors in the near feature. Industry leaders such as Bosch, TDK Invensense, Renesas, Infineon, Analog devices, STMicroelectronics, GE and Intel meet every month to strategize on a series of initiatives.

If you’re interested in joining the SEMI-MSIG Device Working Group, please contact Carmelo Sansone, Director of MEMS & Sensors Industry Group.

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The MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) is a SEMI technology community that enables the MEMS and sensor industry to address common challenges, innovate and accelerate business results.

Carmelo-HeadshotCarmelo Sansone is director of the SEMI-MSIG. He has focused his career on building products and system solutions that have large impact in the marketplace. Sansone launched several sensor processor platforms for low-power applications, including the first microcontrollers with DSP capabilities, the core of today’s portable devices intelligence. Sansone has led the successful integration of the MSIG organization into SEMI by expanding its services and global reach. Carmelo holds a master’s degree in Electronic Engineering with a specialization in Biomedical from the University of Pisa and an MBA from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.