Fluorometer sensor fouling.

Hydro-Wipers can be used to clean a range of optical sensors including fluorometers.

Deploying fluorometer sensors in marine and fresh water environments is common practice in a wide range of monitoring and research programs….and so is cleaning them. In situ sensors are expensive and time consuming to maintain – often because biofouling starts to impact on data collection very quickly.

Nobody enjoys cleaning sensors, beyond that, it can cost a lot of money to get out to deployments. In many cases boats are required and maintenance schedules have to be set frequently enough to make sure the sensors stay operational. That’s where Hydro-Wipers can really earn their keep by extending deployment times.

Commonly used antifouling solutions:

There are a number of different ways of mitigating fouling on  sensors generally. Copper mesh or copper rings can be used, copper tapes can also be wound around some components. Zebra-Tech uses a copper ring around its D-Opto Oxygen sensor to help reduce bio-fouling although for high fouling environments a shutter is used. For some types of sensor, UV light may be used, particularly in areas where power is available but even in remote locations potentially. One disadvantage of UV is that it although it kills off organisms, it does not keep the instrument free from obstructions such as mud, silt and detritus. Fluorometer sensor fouling isn’t just caused by growth of weeds, barnacles etc. and so in some environments, physical cleaning is needed. Hydro-Wipers are a mechanical wiper commonly used to keep optical windows clean.

Keep optical sensors clean underwater with a self-contained Hydro-Wiper

A Self-Contained Hydro-Wiper for Cyclops sensor. Other models available.

Mechanical wipers can be deployed remotely, will wipe at set intervals and can potentially keep sensors working in the field for many weeks if not months. The Zebra-Tech Hydro-Wiper is designed to gently clean sensitive optical surfaces and have been successfully deployed with a number of fluorometers and light sensors. Chelsea, TriOS, BBE, Turners…if it isn’t on our list, we may be able to wipe it anyway so please ask us.