A long-term in situ calibration system for chemistry analysis of seawater

Chun Yang Tan, Bo Jin, Kang Ding, William E. Seyfried, Ying Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


An in situ calibration system is a versatile exploration instrument for electrochemical sensors investigating the biochemical properties of the marine environment. The purpose of this paper is to describe the design of an auto-calibrating system for electrochemical (pH) sensors, which permits two-point in situ calibration, suitable for long-term measurement in deep sea aqueous environments. Holding multiple sensors, the instrument is designed to perform long-term measurements and in situ calibrations at abyssal depth (up to 4000 m). The instrument is composed of a compact fluid control system which is pressure-equilibrated and designed for deep-sea operation. In situ calibration capability plays a key role in the quality and reproducibility of the data. This paper focuses on methods for extending the lifetime of the instrument, considering the fluidics design, mechanical design, and low-power consumption of the electronics controller. The instrument can last 46 d under normal operating conditions, fulfilling the need for long-term operation. Data concerning pH measured during the KNOX18RR cruise (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, July-August, 2008) illustrate the desirable properties of the instrument. Combined with different electrodes (pH, H2, H2S, etc.), it should be of great utility for the study of deep ocean environments, including water column and diffuse-flow hydrothermal fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-708
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Zhejiang University: Science A
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
‡ Corresponding author * Project supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40637037), the National High-Tech Research and Development Program (863) of China (No. 2007AA091901), the National Science Foundation of U.S. (No. 0525907), and the China Scholarship Council (No. 2009632124) © Zhejiang University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Funding Information:
Sea trials of the auto-calibrating system were performed during the KNOX18RR cruise (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, July–August, 2008, chief scientist Anna-Louise REYSENBACH, supported by the National Science Foundation of U.S.) on the R/V Roger REVELLE. For deployment, the IrOx electrode and Ag|AgCl electrode were utilized for pH sensors and the signals were collected and recorded by an autonomous real time data-logger (Chen et al., 2005).


  • Flow control
  • In situ calibration
  • Long-term
  • Low power
  • pH


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