The Bioshutter II is an autonomous underwater shutter attachment designed for use with Satlantic radiometers. The primary purpose of the shutter is to prevent marine bio-fouling of the sensor optics in moored, time-series application. Copper, and copper-based alloys have long been known to have good resistance against bio fouling and have been used in a diverse variety of commercial applications. Scientists working at the University of California Santa Barbara Ocean Physics Lab under the auspices of the National Ocean Partnership Programs' (NOPP) Ocean System of Chemical, Optical, and Physcial Experiments (O-SCOPE) project developed an underwater shutter device for use with instruments such as Satlantic's OCR-500 and HyperOCR series instruments. The Satlantic Bioshutter II device builds upon the success of this instrument by combining an innovative copper shutter and an input power controlled motor drive assembly to ensure robust operation in harsh marine environments.
The Bioshutter system is designed to impede biofouling on the optical detectors of marine sensors. By prohibiting biological growth on the sensor optics, the deployment duration may be extended.
Copper has long been known to exhibit a high natural resistance to biofouling. This property has been exploited in a number of ways, including as a cladding on underwater pipes and ship hulls. The oceanographic community can further take advantage of copper’s unique properties by using it to protect optical sensors from fouling.
The antifouling mechanism of copper when used as a protective cladding is not fully understood. However, the mechanism by which marine growth is prohibited on objects in very close proximity to copper is generally believed to be due to the leaching of copper ions into the water. While trace amounts of copper are essential for life, larger quantities are toxic, especially to bacteria, algae, and fungae. By maintaining a close proximity between the two devices, the copper contained in this small volume of water separating the shutter and the optical sensor reaches toxic levels.
While other products employ the same antifouling principles in order to protect optical sensors against biofouling, the Bioshutter extends the devices capabilities. The Bioshutter is a completely self-contained instrument, easing the requirements on the data acquisition system. All that is required by the device is a power input.