The patented device and procedure described provide a method of processing the flat, thin-film coated surfaces encountered in the ultraclean manufacture of integrated circuit wafers, photomasks, panel displays or other similar substrates. The device provides a means of delivering liquids and vapors to those surfaces while temperature, evaporation and particulate contamination are controlled as a natural consequent of its physical configuration. The essential mechanism exploits the surface tension of liquids and the differences in the wettability of surfaces. By juxtaposing the target surface with a prepared surface on the processing device and maintaining a separation of a few millimeters, the gap formed provides a reaction space into which liquids are easily distributed exploiting so-called capillary behavior. While placing the liquid reagent on the hydrophobic, horizontal surface of the processor, the hydrophilic substrate surface suspended above it is transported laterally. The substrate surface then engages the liquid edge which, driven by its own surface tension, quickly fills the gap. The ending of the reaction and removal of the liquid is effected by further transporting the substrate with its captive liquid reactants to a trench provided in the processor surface where the liquid flows down and away. Thus, the processor surface is seen as a series of 'mesas' allowing a sequence of wet process, rinse and vapor treatments, all with the simple lateral movement of the substrate. The effects of improved reaction kinetics on process precision as well as the benefits mentioned above are discussed and compared to previous immersion and spin methods. Critical dimension measurement data are presented from large photomask substrates processed by the instrument.