Programs & Awards  
2009 SPS National Interns
2009 Interns | Past Interns | About the Program

  • Introduction
  • Online Journal
  • Final Presentation
Brad Dinardo Brad Dinardo
Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA)
Internship: National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share

My name is Brad Dinardo and I am from Altoona, Pennsylvania and go to school at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. For those of you who do not know where Huntingdon, PA is, Huntingdon is located in the center of Pennsylvania, about 30 miles south of Penn State.

A little bit about me: I am currently a junior Physics and Mathematics major. My favorite topics in physics are Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics, and it is my ultimate dream to be an astronaut someday as I am extremely interested in the universe. I am a HUGE fan of the Oakland Raiders (so yes I get made fun of a lot) and love playing sports with my friends and just hanging out with my friends during my off time back at school and at home. My favorite bands are Aerosmith, U2, Metallica, and 80's music. Also, I am a very big Trivia fan, especially Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire (I have also tried out for college Jeopardy and the normal Jeopardy; I am 0/4, but I remain optimistic about it). Finally, I am very interested in severe weather, specifically the formation and behavior of Tornadoes.

So, I am very excited about the opportunity I have this summer and I can't wait to get to know all of you.


Brad Dinardo Brad Dinardo
Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA)
Internship: National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
Final Reflections Friday, July 31st Friday, July 10th Friday, June 19th
  Friday, July 24th Friday, July 3rd Friday, June 12th
Friday, August 7th Friday, July 17th Friday, June 26th Friday, June 5th

Final Reflections

With [this], I end my summer here in Washington DC. I have met some of the greatest friends I know and will miss them. I learned so much at NIST. I felt that I was truly part of something. My mentors gave me the opportunity to take a leadership role with the research. They were always there for me every step of the way throughout this experience, and I am so glad that I was given this chance. This internship taught me so much that I will take for the rest of my life. I will miss walking around Washington and just lounging at the Lincoln Memorial, to eating a Ben’s Chili Bowl to just hanging out with everyone. The people at NIST and the American Center of Physics gave me the privilege of learning from them, and with that, I have grown so much. I will miss all of my interns who became some of my best friends and I will remember them and this summer for the rest of my life.

< back to top

Friday, August 7th

And so the final entry has arrived.

This is a short week, but is filled with a lot of action.
Saturday night I went with Laurie, Mary, and Erica to Alexandria where we ended up unbelievably taking a boat up the Potomac back to Washington. This was a night and I was a great way to see the sights of Washington all lit up. Later that night, Laurie, Erica, and I went to a pizza place in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood called “Jumbo Slice Pizza.” When they say jumbo slice, they are not lying. The pizza is huge, over 1.5 feet long!

Monday was the NIST tour, where I toured the NIST Center for Neutron Research and the Laser Cooling labs. These were incredible labs with a huge amount of high tech equipment and amazing setups. Later in the evening, Fred Dylla hosted his annual barbeque, where I met Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. John Mather. I also played a crazy game of croquet with the interns (in which I won) and played horseshoes with Gary (in which I lost). This was a great way to wind down the summer as everyone had a relaxing time and enjoyed the amazing food and atmosphere.

Tuesday was my last day at NIST. I said all of my goodbyes to all of the scientists and they gave me their words of wisdom. I had such a great time with the NIST scientists this summer. I definitely miss this amazing group of people.
Tuesday night was my last night with all of the interns. Some of us went to Froggy Bottom Pub to play pool, where I tried to revive my career (I did ok). We hung out there that night, which was very symbolic, because we all went to Froggy Bottom on our first night together and we are all here on our last. “It started at Froggy Bottom and it ends at Froggy Bottom.”

< back to top

Friday, July 31st

The last full week has arrived.

This week started off very interesting as two of my friends from my hometown of Altoona, PA came to visit on Saturday. I took them all over the city and I’m pretty sure that I killed their legs as they were pretty tired at the end of the day. Sunday, as usual, was a rest day.

This week at NIST was dominated by two things: Giving another talk and actually making a WORKING organic solar cell. On Tuesday, I gave an extended version of my SPS Official Talk (from earlier in the summer) to the entire Organic Photovoltaics Division. After this, I worked long hours the rest of the week to get a working solar cell.
Thursday, I toured the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where I saw the clean room and labs where the Microshutters for the James Webb Space Telescope are being manufactured. I also saw broken parts of the Hubble Space Telescope and the one of the world’s largest vacuum chambers. Another crazy lab I saw was where acoustics research is done. This involves NASA literally blowing a gigantic air horn in a room to test vibrational effects on materials.
On Friday, my hard work paid off. I did my usual spraying procedure, but this time with a slightly different Semiconductor mixture. This resulted in my organic solar cell generating 510 microamps of current! My first solar cell! All from spraying on the semiconductor!

Also, Calvin and Brad Conrad took me out to eat, as it was the last time I would be seeing Calvin. We went to Roy’s Place, which if you have never heard of it, is a sandwich place with 212 different NAMED and SPECIFIC sandwiches! It took us 40min to decide which sandwich to eat! (For the record, I got #118, the “Dracula”).

So, I cannot believe that this incredible summer is coming to an end. My final entry is next!

< back to top

Friday, July 24th

So, the experience continues here at NIST and Washington, DC.

This weekend, my parents came and visited after I gave my talk at the Internship Presentations. So I went with them to see some more great sites in Washington, DC. The best was seeing the Capitol. But I have a major complaint: First some info: Throughout the entire Capitol, one will see many statues of famous Americans. In fact, you will see exactly 100. That’s because each state gets 2 statues of famous (dead) people from their home state. I am from Pennsylvania, and Ben Franklin is NOT one of the statues from PA. That is an outrage!

Anyway, my week at NIST has been dominated by working hard to optimize the method I am spraying. And I actually managed to make a device, however, I have discovered that the device will not work because not only is the semi conducting layer to rough, but most of the electron acceptor material (PCBM) has seemingly disappeared from the semiconductor fluid! So, I am in the process of making new semi conducting fluid in hopes of being able to actually fabricate a device.

I will keep you posted.

< back to top

Friday, July 17th

Unbelievably, the summer here at DC and NIST is slowly coming to an end;

So, this week started with a BANG. Somehow, Dan found this place called Ben’s Chili Bowl, located out at U Street. This place was awesome and had great chili dogs. I promise you, you must go to Ben’s Chili Bowl, and I guarantee it will be on the travel channel. It’s a great restaurant and has some history to it, so I recommend it. I also went to an art museum for the first time in my life: The National Gallery of Art. I did see some famous works, including self portraits from Van Gogh and Rembrandt, famous works by Mary Cassatt, Monet, Manet, and some awesome sculpture.

Sunday, as usual, was relax day.

This week at NIST had one single goal in mind: Final Presentation! Monday I gave my presentation to my hardest audience: Dr. Gundlach, Dr. Suehle, and Dr. Chan (experts in this field). They all gave me great advice and how to make my presentation sound even better. Tuesday I just worked on the presentation at NIST.

Wednesday, I spent all day at the American Center for Physics and me alongside the 11 other interns all gave our talks to the ACP staff, and they supplied constructive criticism for us. It was a long day, but it really helped me and improved my talk. They also were generous to give us an awesome shirt about solar eclipses and a Galileoscope (which is a commemorative telescope celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo developing his original telescope)

Thursday was a day to just go over my talk and make it sound as best as possible.

Friday, my parents came down and were at the Final Presentations. All of us interns gave our talks. I was very happy with how my talk went and I owe a lot of my success to the ACP staff, the NIST staff, and a professor back at Juniata College (I took a public speaking class)

So a great week it was and an awesome week is ahead of me.

< back to top

Friday, July 10th

The 4th of July weekend has arrived. So since the 4th of July was on a Saturday, I had Friday off at NIST. I went home to Altoona, PA for the weekend where I caught up with family and friends. Back at home I continued my hobby of watching terribly bad movies with my friends; the movie I watched was entitled “The Crate” and it was rated a 1.0/10 on On the 4th of July, my family had a big BBQ and lots of people came over to my house. Coming back to Washington, DC on Sunday actually took 5 hours due to traffic.

This week at NIST I continued to apply more semiconductor liquid to a glass or quartz substrate and use Ultra Violet Spectroscopy to analyze their absorption coefficients and how well the molecules in the semiconductor are lined up. I also worked on preparing these semiconductor films on silicon substrates. I did this because next week I plan on using ellipsometry to determine film thickness (which I want to be around 220nm)
I also saw some NIST landmarks this week: Destroyed steel from the World Trade Center Collapse (note that NIST was assigned the project to determine how and why the World Trade Center towers collapsed) The steel still rests where it was analyzed back in 2001 and 2002. The other landmark is a descendent from the Isaac Newton Apple Tree; yes there really is one at NIST.

Thursday, I attended a talk by Dr. William Phillips, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics and Juniata College alum. His talk was on atomic clocks and laser cooling (in which he won the Nobel Prize for his work on laser cooling). This was a great talk and it was a once in a life time experience to learn from a Nobel Prize physicist.

< back to top

Friday, July 3rd

Saturday started with me, Erica, Erin, Laurie, and Raina all going to the Caribbean Parade on Georgia Avenue. This parade consisted of many flatbed trucks just carrying huge speakers and blasting reggae style music while hundreds and thousands of people danced crazily to the music. The interesting thing about this parade is that somehow, someway, we managed to be IN THE PARADE. All of a sudden we all noticed that we were on the road and somehow got though a WALL of people to get on the road. To this day, none of us know exactly how we managed to be in the parade.

Sunday consisted of me just lying around and taking a walk through the city. I relaxed all day and got ready for my shortened week ahead.

This week at NIST, everyday was pretty much the same. I am now making the actual bulk-heterojunction that is the semiconductor for these solar cells. Each day consisted of me preparing glass substrates in the morning (and by that I mean cleaning them, and cleaning them good!) and then depositing the semiconductor fluid onto those substrates in the afternoon by means of the airbrush. This went on for the entire week and I now am in the process of trying many different scenarios for this airbrush deposition method. I can now also do all of this on my own, as Calvin Chan (my advisor) made sure that I could do each task without him.

I must add that on Tuesday, I and some other NIST interns went to a Chinese Buffet in Gaithersburg. I must say that it was the smallest Chinese Buffet I have ever seen. It consisted on ONE 2ft. x 6 ft. unit where a grand total of EIGHT food selections were. Oh well, it was funny to see such a small buffet. My fortune also read: “You will inherit lots of money.”

Note that on (I think on Wednesday) it stormed really bad in Washington DC and actually hailed for a little bit (as a severe weather fan this was very exciting for me).

I have also changed the way I order Mexican food. Jose has introduced Taquitos to me, and by doing that, revolutionizing the way I order Mexican food. These taste amazing! I cannot believe I have never heard of them before.

Also, throughout this week I have been spending some time constructing my presentation that I will give soon.

I also extended my Final Jeopardy! Question correctness streak to 3 straight days. I hope this continues to rise and I will keep you updated.

So, only four days this week because Saturday is the 4th of July! I cannot wait for this weekend coming up.

< back to top

Friday, June 26th

So, Week 4 has concluded; This week started on my birthday and my parents and brother came to visit me and celebrate. We went to see all of the sights and walked for miles and miles around Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall, and even took a moment to see the Albert Einstein Memorial statue. During all of this, I happened to see President Obama too. I was outside the White House when he was leaving to go somewhere and saw him wave to everyone from his armored limo.

This week at NIST, I continued my research and made some P3HT solution (which is ½ of the semiconductor polymer I am using this summer to spray on the substrate).I also continued to clean a lot of the glassware and the equipment as next week I am going full blast into trying to get some experimental data.

Furthermore, I now have fully setup my equipment for spraying on the semiconducting fluid. It is a full chrome airbrush system that allows me to adjust the flowrate, pressure of the nitrogen gas that propels the fluid outward, distance from the airbrush to the sample, and how long I spray on. I even made a cool mount for it, which reminds me of a flamethrower, so I have nicknamed the airbrush: “The Flamethrower.”

I practiced spraying some P3HT solution onto some quartz and glass substrates. They turned out quite granular than smooth, but I have come up with some solutions to make my results better –I think I am holding the airbrush too far from the substrate. Anyway, today I measured the absorption coefficient of my best sample so far, and it did display some slight characteristics of being a solar cell device, I just need to optimize this a lot so it will actually work and so I can take some data.

Also, the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (where I work at in NIST) hired a new physics named Brad. He has already done some serious work in spray deposition of thin films so I hope to gain a lot of valuable information and techniques from Brad for my research.

This weekend is looking nice and I will be relaxing and getting ready for another week at NIST.

< back to top

Friday, June 19th

So already the third week into the SPS Internship at NIST, wow time flies!

So for me, Saturday and Sunday were days of rest, as I use them to just hang out with people and see some sights of Washington, DC. Also, due to the recent Iran election controversy, a large mob of protestors, carrying signs, flags, and banners marched through the streets of Washington, protesting the election results –they actually marched right past my window as me and others watched them go by.

On Monday, I finally met my research Advisor, Calvin Chan. He showed me around the lab and is a very helpful person. Tuesday, I attended the weekly organic semiconductor department meeting and then met with Calvin to go and get new beakers and tweezers. It turns out that when working with electronics, everything must be completely clean; so I learned how to clean the materials with certain chemicals. On Wednesday, I went to the department meeting and then met with Calvin to continue to learn how to clean the materials I will be using this summer for my research. This process lasted the entire day, but it was interesting to be able to use devices that beam ultraviolet light to clean glassware.

On Thursday, Calvin showed me how to make some of the semiconductor material, known as P3HT. I will be using P3HT in combination with another material known as PCBM. I got to learn how to use a glove box, which is exciting.

Friday, was my 20th birthday. In the morning at NIST I continued to educate myself with the air brush system. I observed how much de-ionized water was deposited on a glass quartz substrate as I varied the spraying time, pressure going into the air brush, and at the same time, keeping the distance between the substrate and the airbrush constant. I did this procedure with a square nozzle. For Lunch, to celebrate by birthday, Calvin took myself, Laurie, and Nadine (a researcher at NIST working on memristors) out to lunch at a place that is all noodles; and I got Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese (so Kendra if you are reading this, I don’t really know if it is just like macaroni and cheese from Wisconsin, but it was good). In the afternoon, I repeated the same procedure I did in the morning, only this time using a circular nozzle. Later in the day, I changed from depositing de-ionized water to depositing chlorobenzene.

So, it is the weekend!

< back to top

Friday, June 12th: Learning Week

Second Week of being in Washington, DC… Saturday I and the rest of the SPS interns went to the Washington National Zoo. It was very interesting to see a diverse variety of animals from around the world, including some giant pandas. Later that night, we went to an Italian restaurant with the SPS Committee. Sunday was a relaxing day of just hanging around with everyone and we all got rested for the week to come.

Throughout this week I mainly continued to read literature about my research project. Despite the fact that I am doing a ton of reading, it has been interesting and I feel I understand the theory behind my solar cell research. On Wednesday, however, I gave a short talk on my research goals for the summer at the weekly department meeting for the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Dept. at NIST.

Thursday I actually started taking some more data. I used an Ultra Violet and Visible Light Spectrometer to beam into some organic solar cells and measured how each solar cell absorbed the light. On Friday I met with Lee Richter, a physicist at NIST to discuss what the results from my UV-VIS tests mean. I found out that only one solar cell will work, and the rest need to be scrapped…

Like I said, there will be a lot more to report about next week. This week dealt with a lot of reading since my research advisor was not at NIST the entire week. I learned some valuable information about my research and I am very excited to start doing full blown research next week.

< back to top

Friday, June 5th

So, the summer journal of Brad Dinardo begins.

Sunday was move in day for me. Most of the other interns were already here, and I took the time to meet them and introduce myself. I also walked around the Foggy Bottom district with the intent of orienting myself with the area. After that I went to bed because I wanted to be well rested for Monday. On Monday, the first work day, I went to the American Center for Physics and met all of the leaders of Sigma Pi Sigma and they welcomed us to the area. They gave us an orientation of the ACP building and showed us all of the departments. After a good lunch, Thomas Olsen, the VP of Sigma Pi Sigma took me and Laurie (who I will be working with this summer) to the National Institute of Standards and Technology; NIST (where I will be working this summer). At NIST, I met John Suehle, the lead scientist in the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL) and John introduced me to the staff and the person I will be working with: Dave Gunland and eventually Calvin Chen.  I was then given a tour of the NIST EEEL facility and I was given a briefing of my summer project, which is air brush deposition thin-film polymer organic photovoltaics (which basically is a spray on solar cell; the solar cells will be super thin and inexpensive sources of energy.

The next day at NIST Monica (who is a safety EXPERT) gave Laurie and me the safety orientation. I then went to a staff meeting with some members of the EEEL and the Polymers division (I will be working closely with the Polymers division this summer as well). Dave also gave me a lot of professional journal articles to read that relate to my project, so I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday reading and educating myself with the project.  I was also given an office I share with six other SURF students.

Thursday was the most interesting day of the week: I met with chemist Dave Germack and he taught me how to use the UV-VIS Spectrometer, which I will use to beam ultraviolet light into previously made solar cells (made by Calvin) and measure how those cells absorb UV light (which should be a good quality for efficient solar cells). So, all afternoon I did this, but I still do not know the results, of which I will go over with Calvin when he returns to NIST from his family vacation. Friday was another reading day as I truly feel that I understand the basis of the project and some dynamics behind it. I am excited to start next week and apply what I learned this week to my project.

< back to top

Brad Dinardo Brad Dinardo
Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA)
Internship: National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
Follow SPS on: Twitter Facebook YouTube Photobucket The Nucleus Email and Share
Final Presentation

Fabrication of Organic Photovoltaics by Spray Deposition

Due to the high prices of manufacturing silicon photovoltaic devices, a new method for creating organic photovoltaics was designed to deposit the active layer solution of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) :phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), known as the Bulk Heterojunction (BHJ) using an airbrush. Contemporary methods of depositing the BHJ such as spin coating are precise, yet cover only a small localized area. Spray coating the BHJ will allow for large scale organic photovoltaic devices to be fabricated in an inexpensive manner. Optical and electrical characteristics of the spray coated devices are optimized to ensure the spray-on BHJ will feature efficient charge transport. The desired power conversion efficiencies of these new photovoltaic devices are aimed at 10%. This method gives a cost efficient method for manufacturing large scale new age solar cells.
   Home  |  Search   |   Site Map  |   Privacy   |   Contact SPS