Jameco Electronics Puzzler: Ozone

How to Measure Ozone in the City

By: Forrest M. Mims III

Puzzler 20

Engineer Ozzie Meterson read that an amateur scientist found that the ozone indicated by a government monitor was 20 percent too high. Ozzie searched online for various ways to measure ozone. When he was about to select an electrochemical sensor, his boss challenged him to come up with something new.

Ozzie was inspired by the challenge and went back online. There he learned how the most accurate ozone instruments use ultraviolet light, which is strongly absorbed by ozone. He suggested this method to his boss, who reminded him that the challenge was to come up with a new method.

He learned that ozone has a pungent odor, is generally invisible and weakly absorbs a broad spectrum of visible light with a peak in the orange. While thinking this over, he glanced out the window toward the official ozone monitor near the corner traffic light and suddenly arrived at a possible new solution that might impress his boss.

What was Ozzie's idea? ... Puzzler Hint: Think "traffic light."

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