The aim of the LUKAS project is to develop a novel mobile measurement and warning system for monitoring and detecting particulate pollutants in the atmosphere. The system is capable of analyzing single airborne particles in the nanometer and micrometer size range in real-time for physical properties and their chemical composition, whereby the database of known chemical patterns is continuously evolved (artificial intelligence). Real-time data analysis and meteorological modelling are used to simultaneously locate the pollutant source, forecast pollutant dispersion, and provide a prospective warning message to a base or to the public, e.g. via a web app. The used key measurement technology is a novel laser-based single particle mass spectrometry (SPMS) technology for the detection of inorganic and organic airborne aerosol particle components in combination with conventional gas and particle analyzers. LUKAS is suitable for application in disaster prevention, health and environmental protection, and civil defense. The novel LUKAS system is developed and initially tested by monitoring ship and coastal emissions in collaboration with the German Marinekommando and the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH). Subsequently, LUKAS is being tested together with various national institutions such as the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (BBK), the Umweltbundesamt (UBA), and the Bayerische Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz (StMuV) for further applications in the fields of disaster prevention, counter-terrorism, and crime prevention, and environmental monitoring.
LUKAS is funded for 4 years (2021 – 2024) by the Federal Government of Germany with a total sum of 3.9 Mio €. The steering committee consists of the LUKAS project leader, Thomas Adam (UniBW M/HMGU), and the UniBW M researchers Christian Kähler, Heinrich Ruser, and Annika Sehl. In addition to this, 5 early-career scientists complete the LUKAS core team. Key partners of LUKAS are the JMSC (Helmholtz Zentrum München and University of Rostock), Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Photonion GmbH, and further German KMUs.