Mary Elizabeth Sirois | 2024 I.S. Symposium

Mary Elizabeth Sirois head shot

Name: Mary Elizabeth Sirois
Title: Soak Up the Sun: Exploring the Ability of Quantum Dots to Increase PAR Transmission in Seaman Corporation’s Dura-Grow Greenhouse Film to Improve Plant Growth
Major: Chemistry
Advisors: Annastassia Gallo, Paul Edmiston

Greenhouses are a widespread product in the agricultural industry that are combating the issue of the growing global food demand. It is important that these greenhouses have a highly transparent material to maximize plant growth. Photosynthesis is the main process for plant growth that requires solar radiation (SR), specifically in the range of 400-700 nm, also known as the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) region. Seaman Corporation is currently developing a product, Dura-Grow HD10, a cost-effective greenhouse cover with a high transmission rate and long lifespan. However, there is a direct correlation between increased PAR transmission and increased crop growth, so product improvement is needed. The proposed study will upconvert unproductive SR wavelengths in the infrared (IR) region into wavelengths within the PAR region in Dura-Grow to increase crop growth. This upconversion will be accomplished through the integration of a bilayer device on the fabric, consisting of quantum dots (QDs), a common light converting agent, and a dopant semiconductor. The literature procedure will be optimized to create an even coating on the sample. UV-Vis spectroscopy will be used to determine the percent transmission of each component and AFM imaging will be conducted to identify successful application. Data from Dura-Grow’s non-QD fabric will be collected using the same methods and compared to the current bilayer fabric. The sample and device will be scaled-up as well to present a cost-effective, long-lasting product to the agricultural industry that increases crop production while maintaining a low maintenance cost.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on April 23, 2024.