This instrument is used to determine the amount of oxygen in a water sample to great precision. It works by sending a laser light through fiber optic cables to the end of a probe. The probe is sitting in a sample of seawater. The instrument determines the amount of oxygen in the water by measuring the amount of light reflected back through the probe. Since oxygen tends to “quench” light (that means absorb or hold it), the more oxygen there is in the water, the more light will be quenched, and the less light will go back through the probe to get measured. So, the more oxygen in a sample of water, the less light gets reflected and read by the instrument. Although there are other ways for measuring oxygen levels in water samples, using the Optode is more accurate than most other methods.

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