Enhancing light use efficiency and tomato fruit yield with quantum dot films to modify the light spectrum

M. A. Blum, C. H. Parrish, D. Hebert, D. Houck, N. Makarov, K. Ramasamy, H. McDaniel, G. A. Giacomelli, M. R. Bergren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spectral quality of light is a critical factor contributing to the photosynthetic efficiency, morphology, and phytochemical content of plants. The solar spectrum in a greenhouse can be passively modified by luminescent films containing quantum dots, which absorb and convert ultraviolet and blue wavelengths into specifically designed emission peaks that can change the quality of the solar spectrum. In this study, dwarf cherry tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Red Robin’) were grown in a climate-controlled test stand under two quantum dot film treatments, with peak emissions centered at 620 and 660 nm and compared to plants grown under a polyethylene control film. All environmental parameters, except for spectral quality, were uniform across treatment groups. Plants grown under the 620 nm quantum dot film produced 29.7% more fruit and 14.8% more total fresh mass compared to the control, while plants under the 660 nm quantum dot film produced 10.3% fewer fruit and 8.6% less total fresh mass than the control. Plants grown under the 620 and 660 nm quantum dot films exhibited increased fresh mass light use efficiency (+26.4 and +15.5%, respectively) compared to the control film, and plants under both quantum dot films exhibited higher radiation use efficiency (+22.8 and +7.5%, respectively). Both films provided more efficient light spectra that promoted plant growth in tomatoes compared to the polyethylene control film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalActa Horticulturae
StatePublished - 2023


  • controlled environment
  • growth chamber
  • luminescence
  • photobiology
  • quantum dots
  • spectral quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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