Part 2 of 3: Harnessing Light for Abundant Growth
If you haven’t already, be sure to read our brief overview of QDs and UbiQD here. In the previous blog, we provided some applications of QDs ranging from the medical1 to renewable energy realms.2 In this blog, we’ll take a look at how UbiQD quantum dots (QDs) are utilized for modern agriculture.
UbiQD recently released a white paper (downloadable here)3 on how luminescent greenhouse films can improve crop yields. But what exactly is a luminescent film, and how does this relate to our discussion of quantum dots? A luminescent film is polymeric film that can be applied over the windows of a greenhouse. These films are low-cost, easy to install, and have an expected shelf-life of 6 years. The QDs, with peak emission at 590 nm, comprise this luminescent film that was named UbiGroTM (Figure 1).3 As sunlight hits the UbiGroTM-covered windows, the QDs in the film absorb the sunlight. As this absorption happens, electrons transition from the valence to conductance band. Upon release of this energy, the electrons begin to release red-shifted light, which enhances the plant’s photosynthetic ability.
Figure 1: UbiGroTM Luminescent Film (590 nm peak emission QDs).
How does this red-shifted light help the plants, and what metrics can we use to evaluate this improved growth? UbiQD recently released a case study on tomato growth from a greenhouse in New Mexico. Over a 5-month period with 126 plants, UbiQD observed a ~21% increase in the weight of harvested tomatoes.3 From a monetary perspective, taking into consideration historic production data and the greenhouse size, this equates to a ~$12.8K increase in profit per year for the farmers in this case study.3 In addition to increased profits, the increased weight of the tomatoes does not include the need for additional space, water, nor nutrients. The implications of saving space and resources for food growth is critical – both for the farmers and for our global interest in food safety, security, and management.
UbiQD’s products, however, go beyond even our shared global interest. Staying true to the “ubiquitous” part of UbiQD, their team has recently won a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) for their work in tailoring sunlight for optimized crop growth, in space!4 This work is a continuation of their 2018 Phase I award, where they first saw a 13% increase in dry weight of red romaine lettuce using the UbiGroTM film. The focus of optimizing crop growth for astronauts is critical – fresh produce is a luxury for our astronauts and doesn’t last too long after an initial launch towards the stars. This technology will allow our astronauts to stay in good health and maximize resource utility while exploring our galaxy and beyond.
Although these products are pushing boundaries in agriculture, they are certainly not limited to agricultural (terrestrial or otherwise) applications. Our last two products in the list below have their peak emissions in the near-IR spectrum, thus far, these are the only QDs that do! Keep your eye out for the final blog in this three-part series for a look at what capabilities these near-IR products offer.
|Catalog #||Peak Emission (nm)|
|29-8500||550 ± 10|
|29-8510||590 ± 10|
|29-8520||630 ± 10|
|29-8530||680 ± 10|
|29-8540||800 ± 10|
|29-8550||950 ± 10|
- Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 2008, 392, 1185.
- J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 2385.
- UbiGroTM Luminescent Greenhouse Films Improve Crop Yields. [White Paper]. Retrieved December 18th, 2019. UbiQD: https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/e91a4987-3726-410f-8e4a-95cd1495a184/downloads/UbiGro%20White%20Paper_All_FullColor_EB103119.pdf?ver=1575923785168
Products mentioned in this blog:
29-8500: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 550nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8510: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 590nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8520: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 630nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8530: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 680nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8540: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 800nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8550: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 950nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
Related Product Lines & Resources
Copper Indium Disulfide/ Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots Brochure