On April 16-17, 2009, Nathan Bramall, Carol Stoker, and Jhony Zavaleta successfully tested the Miniaturized Biospectral Logger, a borehole fluorescence-detection instrument tuned to detect proteins. The instrument is only 5.1 cm in diameter and 1.4 m long but is sensitive to a single bacterium on a clay mineral background without the use of any consumables. The power consumption of the instrument is less than 4 W and can operate at temperatures down to and below -30 C.
The deployment was done in a snow pack at Mount Lassen, where a significant protein signal was recorded despite the low concentration in the snow. Repeatability was demonstrated during testing, indicating that the signal obtained was real.
The photograph, taken by Carol Stoker, depicts Jhony (left) and Nathan (right) about to deploy the mBSL in a borehole. The mBSL is surrounded by an aluminum tube which acts to center it in the borehole and is not part of the instrument itself.