Visualizing the invisible

(Nanowerk News) Air quality expert IQAir ( is partnering with the European Commission to help raise awareness of air pollution during the Green Week Conference this week in Brussels. The focus of the conference is "Clean air for all." A photo exhibition prepared for the conference features spectacular scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of diesel soot, mold spores, pollen and other particulates. The images, at a magnification of up to 100,000, are also available at and set out to challenge the common perception that what you can't see can't hurt you.
A single sugar crystal with a few tiny specks of laser toner, surrounded by pollen
A single sugar crystal with a few tiny specks of laser toner, surrounded by pollen. (Image: IQAir)
Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, declared 2013 the "Year of Air" in recognition of both the economic seriousness of air pollution and its impact on humans. "Air pollution is a global challenge that does not stop at country borders nor at front doors," says Potocnik.
"Lives are being cut short by air pollution, and chronic respiratory disease makes life miserable for many across the continent," warns Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency (EEA).
This year's Green Week Conference theme, "Clean Air for All,'" inspired IQAir, a Swiss-based clean-air technology expert, to help visualize the invisible world of air pollution. IQAir worked with award winning science photographer Stefan Diller to capture SEM images of microscopic air pollutants and allergens that surround us and are in the nano- and micro-meter range.
"Improving the air we breathe is incredibly important. Air pollution threatens the healthy development of our children and contributes to serious diseases, including asthma and cancer," says Frank Hammes, CEO of IQAir. "Our goal for the past 50 years has been to provide practical solutions that supplement the efforts by governmental and non-government organizations to reduce our exposure to air pollutants. We are glad to work with the European Commission to bring awareness to this cause."
Source: IQAir
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