200C: miniPID Fast Response Olfaction Sensor

The 200C miniPID photo-ionization detector combines small size, fast response, and high sensitivity in an easy-to-use, competitively priced package. Designed for olfaction experiments, the sensor has a true frequency response of 330 Hz with a rise time of 1 msec. The detection limit is 50 ppb (parts per billion) propylene in air and the full-scale measurement range is 625 ppm.

The miniPID has been used successfully for numerous olfaction studies involving humans, mice, rats, dogs, Drosophila, moths, mosquitos and ants to name just a few species. Researchers and manufacturers have also been using the miniPID to characterize olfactometers.

The sensor head contains the detection cell, electrometer, RF-excited UV lamp and lamp control circuitry. The easy-to-use controller has switches for
instrument power and pump speed with a control for setting the zero. LEDs provide indication of power, and lamp status. A front-panel display provides fast response indication of the output signal from the sensor with an LED indicator for off-scale signals. Simply plug it in, turn it on and quantify odors with sub-millisecond response time.


  • compact (sensor head measures 1″ x 2″ x 3″)
  • low detection limit – 50 ppb (propylene in air)

  • fast response – 330 Hz (1 msec rise time)

  • high signal-to-noise ratio
  • ease of use – utilizes RF-excited UV lamp


  • simple analog output (0 – 10V)
  • double bar-graph display with off-scale indicator
  • Flow control adjustment valve standard on all 200C models
  • anti-aliasing filter (6th order, 1 kHz, Butterworth)
  • plug it in, turn it on, and it’s ready


201A Portable, Battery Powered miniPID Sensor:
Portable, battery powered miniPID sensor ideal for use on moving platforms such as robots

Optional Support Equipment

  • calibration kit (205A)

Stories of Success

200B – Modeling Insect Pheromone Tracking


In 2008 Dr. Willis from Case Western Reserve University wanted to use mobile wheeled robots to serve as hardware models to test hypotheses on how insects control their odor tracking behavior. He had done work with small 2D robots in the wind tunnel but now wanted to move to the unpredictable real world environments outdoors. For this work he required two fast response gas sensors that were small enough to mount on the robot. The sensors also had to be battery operated as the robot would not be tethered.


Aurora Scientific’s R&D team knew that the miniPID sensor head met most of Dr. Willis’ requirements but the controller was too large, too heavy and required AC power. A new battery powered controller was designed that was small and light enough to be deployed on the robot. The new controller was powered by two NiMH batteries which provided about 2 hours of continuous operation. Changes were also made to the sensor to allow it to be easily mounted to the robot. This involved removing the long mounting rod, removing the sensor connector and replacing it with a short length of wires that plugged directly into the controllers. The cover on the side of the sensor head was also modified to provide a simple clamp mechanism for holding the sensor onto the robot.


Two sensors were built and supplied to Dr. Willis. Our modifications allowed them to be securely mounted on the robot and preliminary tests were conducted. In 2014 Dr. Willis reported that the battery powered controllers were failing and asked for them to be repaired. We took this opportunity to redesign and repackage the controllers and to also redesign the battery packs. We supplied him with two instruments of the new design. The new design uses Lithium-ion batteries which are smaller, lighter and last about twice as long, which have provided Dr. Willis with reliable and portable equipment to model insect pheromone tracking in real world environments. In addition, the new design is now available as the model 201A portable miniPID.

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Related Products

220A: Olfactometer

220A: Olfactometer

The 220A Olfactometer provides reliable odor generation for demanding olfaction experiments.

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200C 201A
Resolution [ppb1 (propylene)] 50.0 50.0
Operating Concentration Range [ppm]2 0-625ppm Gain 1X: 0-625
Gain 10X: 0-60
Output3 [V] (@100ppm propylene) + 0.25 + 0.25
Rise Time4 (millisecond) 1.00 1.00
Frequency Response5 [Hz] 330 330
Precision [%] 5 5
Sampling Flowrate6 [sccm]7 High: 1500-700
Low: 900-300
Suction Inlet Tube Diameter [mm] 0.84 0.84

1 = part per billion, 2 = Parts per million, 3 = Head warmed up and stabilized (30 minutes) at room temperature, 4 = to 99%; Flow Adjust valve fully closed, and flow switch set to high, 5 = -3dB point, Flow Adjust valve Closed – Open, 7 = Standard cubic centimeters per minute.

General Specifications 200C 201A
Detector Technology Photoionization Photoionization
Lamp Type 10.6 eV, RF-excited UV Electrodeless Discharge 10.6 eV, RF-excited UV Electrodeless Discharge
Operating Temperature [°C] 10 – 40 10 – 40
Operating Humidity [%RH] 0 to 80 (non-condensing) 0 to 80 (non-condensing)
Power Required 100, 120, 220, 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz. available ±18 VDC (Li-Ion Battery)
Power Consumption [W] 20 20
Controller Weight [kg] 3.1 1.1
Head Weight [g] 170 170
Head Dimensions [cm] 2.5W x 7.6L x 5.1H 2.5W x 7.6L x 5.1H
Controller Dimensions [cm] 21W (1/2 rack mount) x 25D x 9H (2U) 11W (1/4 rack mount) x 15D x 4.4H (1U)
Battery Dimensions [cm] N/A 11W (1/4 rack mount) x 15D x 4.4H (1U)


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