Applications of Rotational Manipulators in the Manufacture and Characterization of Highly Curved Thin Films

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: McIntyre, Finn (1); Sellier, Mathieu (1); Gooch, Shayne (1); Nock, Volker (2); Sharplin, Nigel (3)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Canterbury, Mechanical Engineering Department; 2: University of Canterbury, Electrical & Computer Engineering Department; 3: Infact Limited, Christchurch, New Zealand
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0623-0632
DOI number:


What do common devices such as smartphones, CD’s and solar panels all have in common? They are all examples of innovative technology that is still limited to flat, rigid geometries. This is primarily due to the limitations of the manufacturing processes used to create components within these devices, key among them the thin polymer films produced through spin coating.

Spin coating is a technique used due to its ability to effectively create uniform films on the scale of micro or nanometres. However, it relies on a planar substrate to produce uniform layers, thus restricting the design of components manufactured using this process to simple, flat objects. As the requirement for curved device geometries expands, complex alternative fabrication methods are being implemented in industry.

For spin coating to remain relevant, a viable process for controlling the fluid flow over curved surfaces must be developed. This research investigates the hypothesis that coating distributions can be controlled through optimized rotation of a curved substrate. Where a multi-axis rotational manipulator and novel characterization system have been developed to investigate the fabrication of curved devices using the improved spin coating technique.

Keywords: Conceptual design, Early design phases, Mechatronics, Microfabrication, Spin Coating

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