Failure analysis and reliability are two important functions to all engineering disciplines. The materials engineer often plays a lead role in the analysis of failures, whether a component or product fails in service or if failure occurs during manufacturing or production processing. In any case, one must determine the cause of failure to prevent future occurrence, and/or to improve the performance of the device, component, or structure.
Microelectronics packages deliver integrated circuit technology to printed circuit boards. They are the means by which internal electrical information from the IC can be delivered to the outside world. One can imagine the various failure possibilities and consequences here. Typical applications range from maintaining the flight stability of an F-117 fighter, to keeping a surgical team operating utilizing the latest in laser technology. Various analytical, destructive, and non-destructive inspection techniques are available for failure analysis of micro-electronic packages, including C-SAM® (C-mode Scanning Acoustic Microscopy). Non-destructive failure analysis of IC packages using C-SAM® can identify critical defects in three dimensions within the package. Scanning Infrared Microscopy (SIR) can perform non-contact surface temperature measurements of powered ICs and thermal impedance measurements of packages and is another powerful, non-destructive tool to the failure analyst. Below is a C-SAM® image showing delamination (red regions) in a microelectronics package.
Once a critical defect has been identified many times, the failure analysis team will then perform a destructive analysis. This is where Controlled Semiconductor, Inc. comes in. Controlled Semiconductor, Inc. has developed a laser based Failure Analysis Tool (FAT), utilizing the C-mode image of a scanning acoustic microscope as a navigation tool. The Failure Analysis Tool (FAT) also incorporates the latest in Alpha Spectrometry to provide the failure analysis engineer with a topographical view of what is inside the device. All of these features make up the FATcat, which can perform layer-by-layer decap, precision cross-sectioning, and material characterization all in one tool.