FAILURE ANALYSIS IS A CORE COMPETENCY

Be it metals, polymers, ceramics, circuit boards or microcircuits; we have the skills base and equipment to provide root cause analysis with materials and process recommendations to prevent further problems from occurring. Failure analysis investigations have ranged from fractured fasteners to failed motherboards.



An SEM image at approximately 800x of a fatigue fracture surface in a 2024 Aluminum aircraft part.

All aspects of a failure are investigated. This includes not only classifying the failure mode but also determining its cause from an engineering mechanics and design point of view. We pinpoint the root cause, be it abuse in service or a processing defect.
We may start by determining conformance to specification and print requirements regarding material chemical make-up, heat treatment or refinement, surface treatments, bulk hardness, etc. We look at both the materials used and application and emphasize design, maintenance and/or material Changes that would improve performance. We meld our FA expertise with our Testing Know-how to help you design tests that can screen-out defective units and improve product reliability.



AMI or Acoustic Micro-Imaging is used to look at the die attach of this semiconductor device. The white areas are voids.



The tools we use for this work are very specialized. Chemical analysis may utilize FTIR to identify polymer materials or x-ray fluorescence for metal alloy identification. Microscopes are a very powerful tool and we utilize many different types including low-power optical stereoscopes, high-power optical metallographs, scanning electron microscopes (SEM) with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), real-time micro-focus x-ray (with magnifications to 800x), and Acoustic Micro-Imaging (which is an ultrasonic microscope).


This AMRAY digital SEM is an example of one type of SEM at our disposal. We have a Field Emission SEM available for very high resolution work, as well as a large stage SEM for full circuit boards or other large parts.

As an example of our Heritage; Our President, Mr. Perry L. Martin, wrote the book on Electronic Failure Analysis:



Visit www.amazon.com to see example pages from this book. Search for the "Electronic Failure Analysis Handbook".

The handbook details techniques and other information for finding the root cause of failure for a variety of different electronics technologies. For an on-line summary article on he analysis of semiconductor failures by Mr. Martin, click on the link below:

http://www.qualitydigest.com/dec99/html/semiconductor.html


 


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