Three simple suggestions that can help you improve your spin coating technique and final coating quality.
You can improve the quality and repeatability of your coatings by dispensing your chemistry onto a rotating substrate. Every Laurell spin coater ships with a sample dynamic dispense program for you to experiment with.
Improve the accuracy of your manual dispense with a syringe adapter. Designed for all Laurell spin coaters, the adapter holds the needle at a consistent height above the direct center of the substrate.
Off-center substrates cause vibration and stress that, at the least, can affect your coating quality, and at worst can lead to a shattered substrate and a damaged spin coater. Laurell has alignment tools for SEMI standard wafers and embedded chuck solutions for square, and rectangular substrates.
We offer lifetime process support to all Laurell spin coater users. Our support teams many years of spin coating experience can help provide diagnosis and treatment for common spin coating problems. Here are some process issues to keep in mind.
A contaminated substrate may not completely ruin your coating, but why would you spend the time and effort on a spin coating process that was flawed from the start? A full cleaning process should address all forms of contamination. The University of California - Irvine details a comprehensive cleaning process here UCI Wet Clean
Particle contamination can occur, after cleaning, during the spin coating process. Laurell spin coaters are designed to minimize particle creation.
Simple observation cannot always discern the chemical contamination remaining on the wafer that is affecting your spin coating process, but the results are obvious. The image above shows the voids in a coating created by invisible spots of contamination.
Exhaust is an often overlooked part of the spin processing operation. For simple spin coating programs, exhaust should be sufficient to draw any chemical vapor away from the operator. Your Laurell spin coater has an exhausted drain standard, with multiple options for more demanding requirements.
The correct level of exhaust is even more important when performing aqueous processing in a Laurell EDC system. All the possible inputs, chemistry, DI water for rinsing, gas for clearing the wetted path and drying the substrate must be balanced with sufficent exhaust. This prevents the creation of an overpressure environment in the process chamber and rapidly clears excess moisture.
If you want the best spin coating results possible, your spin coater should be spotless. See some examples of what not to do above. Your process should be optimized to use the minimum amount of chemistry and the spin coater should be cleaned at the end of every session.