Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)

EMPA is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain. EMPA has over 1000 employees and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society. The 40 employees of the Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology develop measurement techniques and atmospheric modelling tools as a contribution to a healthy and safe environment. With respect to air quality monitoring, the Laboratory operates the 16 measurement stations of the Swiss National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL) and contributes time series of CO2, CH4, N2O, CO, and halocarbons to the World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG) of the Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (GAW) of WMO. Moreover, the Laboratory runs the WMO/GAW World Calibration Centre for surface ozone, carbon monoxide, methane and carbon dioxide (WCC-Empa). With respect to measurement techniques relevant in FLAIR, the Laboratory has been active for over 15 years in the development and application of spectroscopic techniques for environmental, industrial and medical applications. The main focus lies on high-precision mid-IR laser spectroscopy using quantum cascade lasers (QCL) and vertical- external-cavity surface-emitting-laser (VECSEL). Finally, the Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology has a longstanding track record in the development of air pollution chemistry and transport models, including inverse model systems for the identification and quantification of regional emission sources.

Main tasks in FLAIR

EMPA will mainly act as a user of the technologies developed within FLAIR and through its knowhow and infrastructure in air pollution measurements and modelling provide demonstration, evaluation and validation of the instrumental development. EMPA will provide support in defining performance criteria the sensor has to fulfil in order to be suitable for atmospheric measurements (WP2: Requirements and System Design) and is responsible for testing the performance of the sensor prototype under field conditions (subtask in WP4: Sensor Subsystems Development and Integration). Finally, EMPA will use the developed airborne sensing platform in two applications and is responsible for analysis of the acquired data as well as interpretation of the obtained results (WP6: Validation and Demonstration).

Team members

Lukas Emmenegger

PMC member


Christoph Hüglin


Dominik Brunner



+41 58 765 11 11

Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Duebendorf 


This project is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 732968