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Case Studies

A photovoltaic research institute required a compact spin coater to integrate with a robotic work cell. Cee® created a custom coater with a 120mm Teflon™ bowl, a mechanized lid, and auto-dispense functionality. This solution met the institute’s high-speed control needs, chemical compatibility, and space constraints. In production, the coater exceeded expectations, delivering safety and seamless communication with robotic handlers.


The client, a photovoltaic research institute, required a compact spin coater optimized for 40mm x 40mm square substrates for solar applications. This system was required to integrate into their robotic work cell for automated wafer handling.

Key Requirements:
Compact size to fit into existing robotic work cells
Automated control interface for robotic synchronization
Vacuum chuck capable of operating with their end effector
Mechanized cover for robotic access
Automated dispense of materials
Programmable control of exhaust parameters with nitrogen purge
High-speed programmability up to 12,000 RPM
Precise speed control and stability during the spin cycle


The customer had a pre-defined process flow requiring a specialized cluster of tools. Additionally, the chemistry used in these processes raised operator safety and material compatibility concerns.

Readily available, turn-key, automated systems were inadequate to meet the customer’s functionality, integration, and budgetary needs.

Exceptionally corrosive materials were not compatible with standard spin bowl construction materials such as HDPE or stainless steel. Work cell size constraints were incompatible with the standard 8″ Apogee® spin bowl and a mechanized spin lid was required to facilitate robotic interaction. In close collaboration, with the client and their chosen robotic integrator, a custom spin coater was designed.


To accommodate the client’s process needs, Cee® delivered a compact mini-spin coater with a 120mm teflon spin bowl, featuring an automated lid with auto dispense and nitrogen blow-off capabilities. The coater included nitrogen purge for operator safety and full recipe control of lid movement, dispense, exhaust, spin speed, auto-chuck homing, and communication protocols.

The custom spin chuck was designed to accommodate end-effector access allowing ample room for the robot to place and remove substrates.

Sample Process:
1. Command: Open lid 
2. Wafer loaded by robot
3. Command to Datastream™ GUI: Start recipe
4. Spin coater recipe is executed
5. Recipe Complete 
6. Command: Open Lid
7. Wafer removed by robot


In production, the spin coater performed exceptionally well and met or exceeded expectations by delivering on the following key requirements:

• robotic handler integration
• seamless communication
• chemical compatibility
• operator safety requirements
• honors space constraints
• automates essential process parameters

Technical Details

Substrate Sizes

40mm x 40mm x 2mm


Ethyl acetate

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