AQUAscat 1000R Suspended Sediments Sensor

The AQUAscat® 1000R represents a new generation of high frequency acoustic instrumentation. It has applications in sediment transport studies, including measurement of suspended sediment profiles, precision altimetry, dredge plumes and turbulence.

The AQUAscat transmits pulses of high frequency sound on up to four transducers, each of which may operate at a different frequency. It measures the sound scattered by sediment or other suspended materials at discrete spatial intervals programmable from 2½ millimetres to 4 centimetres. For altimetry, this may span a few tens of centimetres; for monitoring sediment suspension profiles, a total range of around 1- 2 metres is typical; while dredge plume estimation may extend to 10 metres. The instrument is supplied in a subsea housing suitable for long-term unattended deployments. Batteries for various deployment schedules are available to order.


  • Sediment transport studies
  • Dredge plume monitoring
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Key features

  • The AQUAscat 1000R can observe profiles of up to 10 m.
  • With the AQUAscat 1000R you can choose between 7 frequencies (300 kHz, 500 kHz, 1 MHz, 2 MHz, 2.5 MHz, 4 MHz and 5 MHz) and benefit from having the most appropriate frequencies for your research. The instrument can use up to 4 frequencies at a time.
  • For the most flexible sediment research, the AQUAscat 1000R has 4 cabled transducers (4 m in length) to give greater freedom in deployment and operation.
  • Once you have setup the burst sampling in AQUAtalk, you can be confident that the AQUAscat 1000R is operating at set intervals chosen by you.
  • For long-term deployments the AQUAscat 1000R can be connected to an external battery pack.
  • The instrument has integrated temperature and depth sensors to give you a better understanding of the water environment.
  • Aquatec offer an optional turbidity sensor that can be integrated with the AQUAscat 1000R. This provides a separate single point measurement of turbidity, giving optical measurements as well as acoustic. This feature is ideal for water quality monitoring, dredge monitoring and aquaculture projects.
  • The AQUAscat 1000R can be used in water depths of up to 1000 m.

The AQUAscat 1000 range

Effective profiling of SSC

  • AQUAscat 1000 technologies can observe profiles of suspended sediment concentration over a series of depths within a water column to give you valuable knowledge on the sediment processes taking place.
  • Profiles can be observed at a single location to produce a time series, or transects taken to observe spatial variability.
  • Profiling can be done horizontally or vertically depending on your choice of deployment.
  • Profiles of SSC can provide information on sediment processes, including motion under wave, tides and currents. Applications include research, coastal zone management and flood risk management. Profiles can provide more information on dredge plumes to assist operational decisions, habitat protection and regulatory compliance.

Multiple frequencies

  • Using multiple frequencies, the AQUAscat 1000 range allows you to determine the mean grain size and concentration of suspended materials.
  • The instrument is most suitable for particle sizes between 20 μm and 500 μm radius and concentrations of 0.01 g/l to 20 g/l over 1 m, or more over a shorter range.

Use in all water environments

The AQUAscat 1000 can monitor sediment in both freshwater and marine water environments, including:

  • Estuaries
  • Coastal areas
  • Rivers
  • Lakes
  • Oceans
  • Polar regions
  • Laboratory studies

Concerned about biofouling?

  • Acoustic instruments have greater resistance to biofouling than optical instruments, therefore AQUAscat 1000 technologies are ideal for unattended deployments.

Effective data analysis with the AQUAscat Toolkit

  • The acoustic backscatter data is post-processed and viewed using the AQUAscat Toolkit, which is supplied with every AQUAscat 1000 instrument.
  • View the Acoustic BackScatter (ABS) data in different formats and apply bottom-detection and threshold algorithms to the data before it is processed to obtain suspended sediment concentration (SSC) profiles.



Suspended Sediments, Turbidity


Sensor specification

Sediment range Sensitive to a wide range of grain sizes
Size inversion typically feasible for 20 μm to 500 μm radius
Typically 0.01 g/l to 20 g/l over 1 m, or more over shorter range
Frequencies Up to 4 frequencies, from 500 kHz to 5 MHz
Transducers Typically Ø10-25mm ceramic discs (beam width according to frequency), with other optional configurations.
Transducer arrangement Individual cabled transducers
Gain Software controlled transmitter and receiver gain adjustment
Range 150 cm (typical), up to 10 m at frequencies below 2MHz depending on options.
Transmitted signal 1 W rms typical transmit CW pulse, pulse length to match cell size.
Transmission rate 128 Hz max pulse rate for each frequency (i.e. 512 pulses per second for four), subject to acoustic range limits. Minimum rate 1 Hz for calibration.
Data averaging Cell ensembles averaged over time by powers of 2 up to 64 before storage
Range cells 256 cells. 2.5 mm, 5 mm, 10 mm, 20 mm and 40 mm at 1500 m/s speed of sound. Start/end range set by software
Burst duration Defined by number of profiles requested
Burst trigger Either external hardware trigger when required or internal software trigger at regular intervals
Burst interval Internally generated from once every minute to once every 255 minutes, user definable start time of first burst.
Trigger output A digital output allows triggering of external instruments
Power requirement 8 V to 24 V dc. Typically 1 W when logging, and with standby of typically 1 mW when not logging.
Battery packs Internal alkaline battery pack gives up to 10 days typical
External battery packs available according to deployment needs.
Additional sensors Built-in temperature and pressure, optional turbidity
Disk storage Compact Flash (proprietary format). 8 GB standard.
Data comms RS232 up to 115 kbaud; USB 1.1 typically 2-3 Mbaud
Housing options 1000m rated aluminium alloy housing. Greater depths available as custom instruments.

Data Sheet

AQUAscat1000R Data Sheet


  • Sediment transport studies
  • Dredge plume monitoring
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