The Coupling of Nanotechnology & Luminescent Films to Optimize Greenhouse Quality
“UbiGro is essentially a layer of light in a greenhouse,” according to UbiQD’s chief of product, Matt Bergren, who enthusiastically described how the company’s UbiGro luminescent greenhouse film and its embedded nanotechnology facilitate light management in greenhouse settings. Based in New Mexico and established in 2014, UbiQD is harnessing nanotechnology for various applications, one of which is the optimization of greenhouse light quality through its UbiGro luminescent greenhouse films. UbiGro films use quantum dots to convert UV and blue photons to longer wavelengths, resulting in the emission of orange/red light. Otherwise stated, UbiGro is a photoluminescent film that glows when illuminated with sunlight due to the conversion of short wavelengths to long wavelengths. This allows growers to harness various wavelengths for photosynthesis and improve crop yields.
Damon Hebert, the company’s director of agricultural research, explained that UbiGro hold an advantage over conventional photoselective films and shade nets by maintaining light intensity while optimizing the light spectrum, whereas conventional methods typically address one at the expense of the other. Hebert also pointed out that “UbiGro films are electricity-free, whereas modifying the light spectrum by LEDs requires electricity.”
The modification of light spectra for plant growth is based on the principle that not all wavelengths are equal, with red wavelengths having been proven as the most photosynthetically efficient wavelengths. By converting UV radiation and blue light to red/orange light, UbiGro films increase the photosynthetic efficiency of light reaching the canopy, allowing growers to favor biomass accumulation, root development and flowering/fruiting. These principles were demonstrated in the first phase of a pilot program which evaluated the film’s performance in a commercial greenhouse setting from 2019-2020.