UbiGro® is an innovative new product that empowers greenhouse growers to control light quality, allowing plants to get the most from sunlight. Enabled by patented quantum dot technology, UbiGro uses fluorescence to increase photosynthetic efficiency to improve fruit and flower production without wires or electricity. This increases crop yields for the grower, which means more revenue for the farm.
Relative photosynthetic efficiency is dependent on the wavelength of light. Wavelengths between 600-650nm are the most efficient for photosynthesis. The ‘action spectrum’ illustrates the differences in relative photosynthetic efficiency by wavelength. See our White Paper for a more in depth look at this topic.
By shifting UV and blue to orange and red light, UbiGro shifts the sun’s spectrum towards the maximum photosynthetic potential in plants which in turn improves crop yields.
UbiGro glows when illuminated with sunlight. Unlike shade cloths, spray coatings or colored films that filter light, our technology converts short-wavelength photons (blue and UV) to longer wavelength photons (orange and red).
As a luminescent layer, UbiGro empowers growers to optimize the sunlight in their greenhouse by converting excess photons of the solar spectrum while preserving colors critical for plant development.
A more uniform distribution of sunlight throughout the greenhouse canopy will increase overall photosynthesis and production. Diffuse scattering of sunlight is an effective way to achieve a more uniform distribution.
Direct light from the sun is strongly absorbed by the upper canopy leaving the lower canopy shaded. Diffused light avoids this issue: there is less shading by the upper canopy, higher light levels in the lower canopy, and the net result is better overall crop growth and plant productivity.
What is light diffusion? Simply put, it is the scattering of light. Photons from the sun get scattered in all directions as they pass through our layer of quantum dots. Much like the dimpled reflector of an HID grow light that scatters the photons of light from the bulb, our UbiGro film scatters photons from the sun.
The quantum dots used by UbiGro have great diffusion properties and when sunlight passes through UbiGro, these photons are not only having their wavelength changed to be more orange and red but also scattering them, making them penetrate deeper into the plant canopy to increase overall production.
UbiGro glows. The product is designed to glow at the color that helps plants accumulate biomass as fast as possible. What is happening within UbiGro to make this happen? The process is called ‘photoluminescence’. Photoluminescence is when a material absorbs a certain color of light and emits or ‘glows’ a different color. QDs in UbiGro film glow incredibly bright because they are so efficient at absorbing UV and blue light and emitting orange or red light.
What does photoluminescence look like at the nanoscale?
Photons are particles of light. When a photon of UV or blue light hits a quantum dot, the light energy is absorbed, and almost immediately, a photon of a new color is emitted. Thanks to sunlight in a greenhouse, this process is occurring more than a trillion times per second in just 1ft2 of glowing UbiGro – which is why plants below UbiGro enjoy an optimized sunlight spectrum.
Do you have questions about UbiGro’s technology? Talk to the Greenhouse Light Experts.
Hunter McDaniel, PhD
Founder & CEO
Hunter earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Chemistry Division. Ultimately the value proposition of UbiGro is about boosting crop yields and quality without the cost or energy impact of lighting. Hunter has more than fifty publications and patents, and more than 2000 total citations, h-index: 20. Hunter fundamentally believes that novel materials underpin every significant technology advancement, and he is focused on leveraging new materials to have a lasting and sustainable impact.
Damon Hebert, PhD
Director of Agriculture
Damon brings a wide range of experience in agriculture, materials science, spectroscopy, and small business. During his time in Prof. Angus Rockett’s research group at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Hebert authored a doctoral thesis and multiple papers on the materials science of CIGS semiconductor materials, which is closely related to the materials developed at UbiQD. He also served as a consultant to Nanosolar, a CIGS nanocrystal solar cell manufacturing company. Hebert has industry experience having co-founded Dr. Jolly’s, a leading cultivation and distribution operation in Bend, OR.
Tania is a UbiGro Sales Representative, with over 7 years of experience in product sales (specifically berries and avocados) covering all of North America and parts of South America. While in agriculture, Tania has cultivated strong relationships with growers and distributors, granting her a unique insight into both perspectives. That understanding, paired with her fierce dedication to results, drives her fun and fiery commitment to her craft. Tania is based in Gilroy, CA.
Charles earned a Bachelor’s in Biological Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master’s in Biosystems Engineering from The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Advised by Dr. Gene Giacomelli, Charles conducted his thesis on the “Optimization of Spectral Quality with Quantum Dots to Enhance Crop Yield in Controlled Environments.” Charles has a decade of biological engineering, greenhouse technology, and molecular biology experience from lab to production scale including working with the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He brings his experience in hydroponics, controlled environment systems design, photobiology, greenhouse engineering, and scientific outreach.
Jim Gideon is an UbiGro Sales Manager, with over 25 years of greenhouse industry sales experience covering all of North America. Previously Jim has worked for Green Tek, Plazit-Polygal, Texel, Cherry Creek, and Nexus. He is based in Montgomery, AL, and Jim believes that “light is everything to the grower.”
Director of Sales
Eric Moody is UbiQD’s Director of UbiGro Sales. Eric has more than 6 years of experience in horticulture lighting industry, building relationships with greenhouse growers of all sizes and crops on optimal lighting for their growing operation, and most recently managed a North American sales team for PL Light Systems. Overall, Eric has been in sales leadership positions for more than 13 years. Eric brings with him a great understanding of the market and available technologies for growers, greenhouse facilities, and sales leadership.
Mike Burrows, PhD
Dr. Michael Burrows is UbiQd’s Vice President of Business Development. His educational background includes a Materials Science doctorate from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business. His career has specialized in the commercialization of novel electronic materials in venture-run programs for different industries including solar, biosensors, and the automotive industry. In both start-up and corporate environments, he has extensive experience in global market development, foraging supply chain partnerships, productization, and brand building. He is currently leading UbiQD’s partnership efforts in luminescent greenhouse technology, smart windows, and security ventures.
Matt Bergern, PhD
Cheif Product Officer
As Chief Product Officer at UbiQD, Dr. Matt Bergren leads the company’s product development efforts, sales, and product manufacturing, including the company’s first commercial agriculture product, UbiGro. He plays a critical role in continuing the company’s path of technology development and vision of powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security.
He serves as the principal investigator for UbiQD’s contract with NASA, focused on tailoring the solar spectrum for enhanced crop production for space missions. Dr. Bergren’s leadership experience includes serving on the board of directors for the New Mexico Energy Manufacturing Institute, focused on job creation in New Mexico’s energy, and related manufacturing community.