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The MQ-510 quantum meter is designed for underwater PAR measurements and already applies the sensor's immersion effect correction factor to the meter readings through firmware. The meter provides excellent measurements under all light sources, including LEDs. The meter consists of a waterproof quantum sensor attached via waterproof cable to a handheld meter. The waterproof sensor incorporates a blue-enhanced silicon photodiode and custom optical filters with a rugged, anodized aluminum body with acrylic diffuser. The underwater quantum sensor is typically used in salt water aquariums where corals are grown. Note: The handheld meter is not waterproof, only the sensor and cable are waterproof.
The meter has a sample and log mode, and will record an integrated daily total in mol m-2 d-1. Sample mode will record up to 99 manual measurements. Log mode will power the meter on/off to make a measurement every 30 seconds. Every 30 minutes the meter will average the sixty 30 second measurements and record the averaged value to memory. The meter can store up to 99 averages, once full it will start to overwrite the oldest measurement with new ones. An integrated daily total will be recorded from the 48 averaged measurements (making a 24 hr period). Sample and log measurements can be reviewed on the LCD display or by downloading the data to a computer, however, the integrated daily total can only be viewed by downloading the data to a computer. Downloading data to a computer requires the AC-100 communication cable (a standard USB cable will not work) and ApogeeAMS software.
Quantum sensors (often called PAR sensors) are increasingly used to measure photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD, units of µmol m-2 s-1) underwater, which is important for biological, chemical, and physical processes in natural waters and in aquariums. When a quantum sensor that was calibrated in air is used to make underwater measurements, the sensor reads low.
This phenomenon is called the immersion effect and happens because the refractive index of water (1.33) is greater than air (1.00). The higher refractive index of water causes more light to be backscattered (or reflected) out of the sensor in water than in air (Smith, 1969; Tyler and Smith, 1970). As more light is reflected, less light is transmitted through the diffuser to the detector, which causes the sensor to read low. Without correcting for this effect, underwater measurements are only relative, which makes it difficult to compare light in different environments.
The Apogee full-spectrum quantum sensor (model SQ-500) is more spectrally accurate than the original quantum sensor (model SQ-120), but the unique optics (mainly the shape) cause the immersion effect to be larger for the new sensor. Underwater PAR measurements collected using a full-spectrum sensor can be corrected by multiplying by 1.32; measurements collected using an original Apogee sensor should be multiplied by 1.08*.
*The MQ-210 and MQ-510 Underwater Quantum Meters already apply the immersion effect correction factor to the meter readings througt the meter firmware. Additionally, the SQ-420 and SQ-520 have an "Immersion Setting" that applies the immersion effect corection factor to the sensor readings through the ApogeeConnect Software. These sensors do not need post-measurement corrections applied to their measurements.