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X-ray Detects Hidden Failure Modes

How X-ray inspection can quickly locate the root cause of failures, to resolve production and lifecycle reliability issues.

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Functional testing and visual examination using stereo microscopy are today’s ‘standard’ quality control techniques for characterising yield and workmanship-related issues in IC fabrication and electronics assembly. Currently used test methodologies—such as IPC-TM-650—rely heavily on visual examination. The visual detection of defects can still be difficult, as samples need to be inspected three dimensionally. However, sample height differences, component shading, solder joint brightness, flux residues and other conditions can limit such examinations. In such cases, X-ray examination becomes a very attractive tool, as it can be performed two-dimensionally—with the results typically immune to obstacles. Below two case studies illustrate how X-ray inspection can quickly locate the root cause of failures, to resolve production and lifecycle reliability issues:

• Case 1: A drop in PCB assembly yield

• Case 2: Product returns due to field features

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