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Understanding Mechanical Chip Decapsulation

Understanding Mechanical Chip Decapsulation 1

The process of mechanical chip decapsulation is a common method utilized during failure analysis to investigate the structural and material properties of integrated circuits (ICs). This process employs mechanical force to remove the outer layer of encapsulation on a chip, revealing the interior layers of the device. The process is useful for analyzing packaging integrity, die construction, dielectric breakdown, and construction and resolution of multi-layer arrays. This article will provide a detailed look into the process of mechanical chip decapsulation, including the benefits, downsides, and the steps involved.

The Need for Mechanical Chip Decapsulation

Mechanical chip decapsulation is essential in uncovering the internal components of an IC. When a chip fails, it’s important to locate the point of failure, which can be difficult with the outer packaging intact. Mechanical chip decapsulation offers a non-destructive method to remove the outer layer, allowing investigators to access specific areas inside the IC without damaging it further.

The Process of Mechanical Chip Decapsulation

The process of mechanical chip decapsulation typically involves the following steps:

  • Initial Visual Inspection: The initial step involves visual observation of the chip’s package to determine the type of encapsulation, underlying structure, and any visual deformities or marks present on the surface.
  • Preparing the Chip: The second step requires the chip to be clamped or glued onto a support material. The support material chosen should offer stability and not react with the chemicals used during the decapsulation process.
  • Encapsulation Removal: The third and most critical step involves exposing the IC by removing the encapsulation layer. This step can be achieved through mechanical force, by using a pick-and-place machine to remove coatings, or by using highly focused acid to etch away the encapsulation layer.
  • Post-Decapsulation Handling and Analysis: After the encapsulation is removed, the IC’s surface is rinsed with a solvent to remove any residue. The die is then examined using a microscope, and the identification and characterization of the failure are determined.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Mechanical Chip Decapsulation

    Like any other process, mechanical chip decapsulation has both advantages and disadvantages: If you want to learn more about the topic, Read more about this topic here, to complement your study. Uncover essential insights and fresh viewpoints!

  • Advantages
  • It’s an effective, non-destructive method of accessing the inner workings of an IC.
  • It’s cost-effective and more straightforward than other decapsulation methods that use chemical etching.
  • It can assist in establishing the root cause of a failure and allow investigators to resolve the issue more efficiently.
  • Disadvantages
  • It requires skilled personnel with access to specialized decapsulation machines and equipment.
  • It has limited capabilities to expose underlying layers that are heavily encapsulated or coated.
  • The process can result in damaging the components within the IC during decapsulation.
  • Conclusion

    Mechanical chip decapsulation is an effective and non-destructive failure analysis method. Its cost-effectiveness and simplicity in comparison to other decapsulation techniques popularize it amongst chip manufacturers and failure analysts. The process requires skilled personnel and specialized equipment to effectively remove the IC’s encapsulation layer, presenting useful insights into the working and failure mechanism of the device. Chip manufacturers rely on this process to enhance the quality of their IC components, ensuring that the right materials are being used, and the products are generally safe for consumers.

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    Understanding Mechanical Chip Decapsulation 2