John Volckens, PhD

Professor, Mechanical Engineering; Director, CSU Center for Energy Development and Health

CSU Startup Companies

Access Sensor Technologies

Why I Innovate:

“I grew up with asthma, and I suffer from certain forms of particle air pollution more than the average person. I have a little extra incentive to try to reduce the levels of air pollution on the planet and let people breathe cleaner air on a day to day basis.

It’s great to solve problems in the lab, but it’s greater to solve problems in the real world. It’s even better if you can develop solutions to problems that other people can implement because then your ideas can be achieved at a [worldwide] scale. As engineers, when we create ideas to solve problems, commercialization is a great route to scale those ideas and make impact with our research.

When I can see how many of the samplers that I have developed have been sold and how many countries they are being used in, that’s real impact because other people are involved.”

Areas of Collaborative Interest:

“Research is an exercise in failure and an exercise in creative energy. Companies can only do so much research. Most companies want to take something that has been well de-risked. I love to de-risk things. They are [often] high risk ideas, and I think academia is the best place to de-risk things. We have the freedom to think freely, try new things, and try ideas that might seem dumb at the time, but which turn out to be great.

I study air pollution, everything from the tailpipe to the windpipe and beyond. I am interested in human exposures to those pollution emissions and the health effects of air pollution. I focus on fine particle air pollution (2.5 ppm) called soot.”


  • De-risking technologies to measure air pollution
  • Fine particle air pollution – human exposure
Patent Application Publications
Patent list generated using Google Patents; Last updated on December 3, 2019.
John Volckens