UbiQD, First Solar to Develop Solar Modules Enhanced with Quantum Dots

Quantum dot composites offer novel avenues for sunlight optimization

August 21, 2023


UbiQD, a nanotechnology company based in New Mexico, has joined hands with solar module manufacturer First Solar to integrate fluorescent quantum dot (QD) technology into advanced solar modules.

QDs are minuscule semiconductor nanoparticles known for their photoluminescence efficiency across a broad spectrum of tuneable colors, making them a valuable tool for optimizing light spectra. These quantum dots are so small that about 100,000 of them could fit across a single fingernail.

UbiQD has already introduced a range of greenhouse products under its UbiGro brand, effectively adjusting sunlight’s spectrum to bolster crop growth. Now, the company is harnessing these materials for potential applications in large-scale solar projects, aiming to enhance the efficiency of existing photovoltaic technologies substantially.

UbiQD specializes in copper, indium, and sulfide QDs, which emit bright and brilliant light, demonstrating their efficiency in converting absorbed light to emitted light. The company claims to achieve this through precision process control and protective shells, ensuring near-unity quantum yields and stability across demanding exterior applications from visible light to the near-infrared spectrum.

UbiQD maintains that QDs are made from copper, zinc, and sulfur, eliminating regulated metals like cadmium and lead or toxins like phosphines. UbiQD holds the exclusive license to these innovative dots from MIT and Los Alamos National Lab.

UbiQD stated it employs a patented method grounded in elegant thermodynamics,  ensuring its quantum dots remain affordable while maintaining high efficiency.

“With First Solar’s domain expertise and leadership position in multi-gigawatt-scale solar, we are excited to be working together on the potential to enhance panel efficiency using quantum dot technology,” said Hunter McDaniel, UbiQD CEO. “If successful, this application in solar modules will be a perfect example of the broad applicability of our core technology. With emerging applications in food and energy, these novel nanomaterials are proving to be a key tool in humanity’s urgent response to climate change and further sustainable economic development.”

In June, First Solar announced its plans to construct a fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, with an investment of up to $1.1 billion. The move comes as the company aims to bolster America’s capacity to produce photovoltaic solar modules.

In a recent interview with Mercom India, Sujoy Ghosh, Vice President & Country Managing Director India at First Solar, said the company’s 3.3 GW integrated thin film module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu is expected to start commercial production in October this year.