Failure Analysis of Electronic Assemblies

There are three major types of the interconnect in any electronic device or assembly: 


Connection between components and a board – Solder joints


Connection inside components – Solder joints or Wire bonds


Connection between various components – traces and Vias, connecting the traces


If the integrity of a single “link” in the interconnect chain is compromised –the device failfunctionally. 


Defects in interconnects is by far the MAJOR reason for field returns. If a defect is not an obvious one (missing component, poor soldering, etc.), it can easily escape general type of inspection. 


Establishing the root cause of failure is an extremely complicated, yet fascinating task. In many instances, a case of FA is in essence a case of CSI – “Crime Scene Investigation”. In-depth knowledge of the assembly process, along with extensive experience within the industry, are a must have to succeed.  

Failure can be caused by: 


Material/component related issues 


Process related issues 


Customer abuse 


Improper handling 


Environmental exposure 


The following Tests/Analyses are typically involved to establish the root case: 


Visual inspection and X-ray Inspection 


Cross-sectioning and Parallel Lapping 


Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) 


Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (EDS)  


Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) 

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