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Semiconductor and Electronic Failure Analysis Blog

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Principles and Methods of Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

scanning acoustic microscopyElectronic failure analysis services are an often undervalued tool in the semiconductor and electronics industries. Manufacturers are beginning to understand that quality and reputation are linked, in much the same way that profit and failure analysis are connected. In an area such as integrated circuit (IC) boards and semiconductors, a timely and accurate failure analysis can be the difference between success and failure for a company’s product line. It appears that electronic failure analysis tools and techniques are becoming nearly as sophisticated as the materials and components they are analyzing.

In the past, most semiconductor manufacturers trusted heavily in destructive testing to analyze their company’s defective products. Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM) is a new tool that now provides failure analysis engineers with the ability to non-destructively map semiconductor layers or perform a component-level analysis of an IC board.

Using several principles and methods, SAM has become a “guiding light” for many that had almost given up hope of attaining an accurate and efficient non-destructive failure analysis tool.

The principle of Scanning Acoustic Microscopy is similar to that of a SONAR system on a ship, in that it uses reflective sound waves to map individual semiconductor layers. The sound reflectance is then measured and a technician can produce a mapped image of the specified layer.

SAM is highly successful in determining delaminations of specific layers of semiconductor metals and is able to produce images of those same layers. SAM is also proficient at determining material failures, cracks, and voids, and is useful in measuring the thickness of individual layers.

Failure analysis is not only an important tool in the semiconductor and integrated circuit board industry, it is absolutely essential! A failure analysis service that utilizes Scanning Acoustic Microscopy can be your company’s biggest advantage over your competitors.

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