Copper has been known to possess antimicrobial properties since as far back as the Phoenician era where ship hulls were copper sheathed to prevent the inevitable effects of biofouling. As a consequence of evolving scientific research and development, the realisation of novel materials and agents has enabled new scientific branches-such as nanotechnology. In this paper we investigate the performance of different forms of copper (macro, micro and nano) for application as antifouling materials. Samples are deployed in SmartBay Ireland for four weeks and analysed for evidence of biofouling. It was found that copper in its nano form, produced the greatest antifouling effectiveness in both PDMS and sol-gel matrices. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.