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Airmega ProX air purifier with a three PM 1, 2.5, 10 particle sensor.

What is a Particulate Matter Sensor?

Air pollution poses a significant threat to human health and the well-being of our planet. Among the various pollutants, particulate matter (PM) stands out as a major concern. These tiny particles, including dust, soot, and smoke, can penetrate deep into our lungs, causing respiratory issues and exacerbating existing conditions like asthma and heart disease. Fortunately, particulate matter sensors have emerged as powerful tools in the fight against air pollution, helping us understand and mitigate the impact of these harmful particles.

Want to learn the basics of PM? Check out our in-depth guide here.

What are Particulate Matter Sensors?

Particulate matter sensors are advanced devices designed to detect and measure the concentration of PM in the air. These sensors employ cutting-edge technologies, such as laser scattering, optical sensing, or beta attenuation, to accurately identify and quantify the presence of particulate matter.

At the heart of these sensors lies a sophisticated mechanism that analyzes the way light interacts with the particles in the air. By measuring the scattering or absorption of light, the sensor can determine the size and concentration of PM, providing valuable data for air quality monitoring and management.

How Does Coway’s Sensor Work?

Our air purifier sensors utilize an optical sensing method to detect the concentration of particulate matter in the air, specifically focusing on PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollution. The sensor consists of an infrared light emitting diode (IR LED) and a photo-sensor strategically arranged within the device. 

As airborne particles enter the sensor, they reflect the IR LED light, which is then detected by the photo-sensor. By measuring the amount of reflected light, the sensor accurately determines the concentration of particulate matter present in the air, providing crucial information about the air quality.

Different Types of Particulate Matter Sensors

Particulate matter sensors come in various types, each designed to measure specific size ranges of PM. The most common classifications include:

  1. PM1 Sensors: These sensors measure particles with a diameter of 1 micrometer or less, which are known to pose the greatest health risks as they can penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.
  2. PM2.5 Sensors: These sensors detect particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, which are also considered hazardous to human health and can contribute to respiratory problems and cardiovascular diseases.
  3. PM10 Sensors: These sensors measure particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less, which can still cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.
A graphic showing how a matriculate matter sensor works in the Airmega.

By monitoring these different size ranges, particulate matter sensors provide comprehensive insights into the air quality, enabling authorities and individuals to take informed actions to protect public health and the environment.

Applications of Particulate Matter Sensors

Particulate matter sensors have a wide range of applications, contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment:

  1. Air Quality Monitoring Stations: These sensors play a crucial role in air quality monitoring stations, providing real-time data on PM levels in various locations. This information helps authorities implement policies and strategies to reduce air pollution and protect public health.
  2. Industrial Facilities: Particulate matter sensors are essential in industrial settings, such as factories and construction sites, where PM levels can be elevated due to various processes and activities. By monitoring PM levels, businesses can ensure compliance with environmental regulations and implement measures to protect their workers' health.
  3. Smart Home Devices: With the increasing awareness of indoor air quality, particulate matter sensors are now being integrated into smart home devices, such as air purifiers and indoor air quality monitors. These devices provide homeowners with valuable insights into the air quality within their living spaces, allowing them to take appropriate actions to maintain a healthy indoor environment.
  4. Wearable Technology: Innovative wearable devices equipped with particulate matter sensors are emerging, enabling individuals to monitor their personal exposure to PM. This technology empowers people to make informed decisions about their activities and take proactive measures to reduce their exposure to air pollutants.

The Airmega ProX with filter.

The Significance of Accurate PM Data

Accurate and reliable data from particulate matter sensors is crucial for developing effective strategies to combat air pollution and mitigate its impacts. By understanding the levels and sources of PM, policymakers, researchers, and environmental organizations can implement targeted measures to reduce emissions, raise public awareness, and promote sustainable practices.

Furthermore, accurate PM data plays a vital role in monitoring the effectiveness of air pollution control measures and tracking progress toward cleaner air. This information enables authorities to make informed decisions and adjust strategies as needed to ensure continuous improvement in air quality.

At Coway, we understand the importance of clean air and prioritize the integration of cutting-edge particulate matter sensors in our state-of-the-art air purification systems. Our Airmega 250 and Airmega 400 can remove 99.98% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and more than 99.999%1 of all airborne contaminants down to 0.01 microns, using 3-stage filtration and advanced PM sensors to monitor and remove harmful particulates from indoor air, providing a safe and healthy living environment for our customers in spaces up to 4,253 square feet.

Particulate matter sensors are invaluable tools in the fight against air pollution. By accurately detecting and measuring PM levels, these sensors empower us to make informed decisions, implement effective strategies, and ultimately protect public health and the environment. As we continue to prioritize clean air, the role of particulate matter sensors will become increasingly crucial in creating a sustainable and healthy future for generations to come.


CDC - Particle Pollution

National Library of Medicine - A Review of Low-Cost Particulate Matter Sensors from the Developers’ Perspectives

Wiley Online - Machine Learning-Enabled Smart Sensor Systems

EPA - Particulate Matter (PM) Basics

Perfect Pollucon Services - It’s all about Particulate Matter Measurement (PM10, PM2.5)

Clarity - What is air quality monitoring and why is it important?

EPA - Setting and Reviewing Standards to Control Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution

EPA - Low–Cost Air Pollution Monitors and Indoor Air Quality

American Chemical Society - AirPen: A Wearable Monitor for Characterizing Exposures to Particulate Matter and Volatile Organic Compounds

Journal of Environmental Management - Sensors and systems for air quality assessment monitoring and management: A review



1Coway air purifiers have been proven to trap dust, pollen, dander, viruses and bacteria in the air based on KCL (Korea Conformity Laboratories) testing.They have been tested in a 30㎥ size chamber according to the Korea Air Cleaning Association standard (SPS-KACA 002-132:2022 Modified) to measure the 0.01㎛ size of particle removal rate. It was tested on maximum airflow speed in normal room temperature and humidity conditions. The performance may vary in the actual living environment of customers.
→ Tested with Airmega Aim, 100, 150, 160, AP-1216L, AP-1512HH, AP-1512HHS, 200M, Icon, IconS, 230, 240, 250, 250 Art, 250S, 300, 300S, 400, 400S, ProX

299.97% of viruses, bacteria, fungi and pollen were verified to be removed from the air for Coway air purifiers which have Green True HEPA™ filter applied based on the Japan Food Research Laboratories(JFRL) testing according to JEM 1467 standard.
→ Tested with Coway Airmega AP-1512HH, AP-1512HHS, 250, 250 Art, 250S, 300, 300S, 400, 400S
→ All tested by JFRL and received above result within below time.

All tested by JFRL and received above result within below time.

- Virus: Tested with Escherichia coli phage ΦX174 NBRC 103405, 60 minutes
- Bacteria: Tested with Staphylococcus epidermidis NBRC 12993, 60 minutes
- Fungi/Mold: Tested with Penicillium citrinum NBRC 6352, 60 minutes
- Pollen: Tested with Cedar Pollen extract, 60 minutes

3Aerosol test conducted in a Biosafety level 3 laboratory with two Coway air purifier models, Coway Airmega 250 and 400 for removal of SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol by US based MRI Global, a not-for-profit laboratory and partner of US Department of Defense. The test was conducted in a 13.1ft3 chamber. Virus was aerosolized for 15 minutes and the product was turned on high for 2 minutes. Result showed each product effectively removed over 99.98% of the SARS-CoV-2 in 2 minutes. This is a result from a laboratory experiment condition and result may vary in different conditions. This result does not imply it kills SARS-CoV-2 or prevents the transmission of Covid-19. Coway Airmega 250S and 400S are identical to the tested models and has equal performance with an additional mobile connectivity function.

4The concentration of ammonia, acetaldehyde and acetic acid were proven to be removed within 30 minutes by FCG Research Institute, Inc. Human Life Science Lab. It is not a demonstration result in the actual use space. Not all odors and gases may be supported. → Tested with Coway Airmega 150, 160, AP-1512HH, AP-1512HHS, 400, 400S

5The coverage area of the air purifier is based on an area where the air cleaner can make two air changes per hour (ACPH). An air change per hour translates to how many times an air purifier can clean an area, assuming the height of a ceiling to be 8 ft, in one hour. Therefore ** means two air changes per hour means that the cleaner can clean the area once every 30 minutes and * means air changes per hour means that the air purifier can clean the area once every 60 minutes.

10Terms and conditions apply. Discounts, including promotions, coupons, bundle discount and subscription discount, cannot be stacked on top of other coupons. During promotional periods, discount codes will not be able to be applied to orders. Promo codes may apply to products only—filters, accessories, and new products within 3 months of the release date are not included.