Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) is ideal for inspection of PCBAs, bare PCBs, electronic components or any other materials used in the industry. It enables visual inspection and both linear and geometric dimensional measurement at very high magnifications. This equipment has the capability of providing digital imaging of specimens with a magnification in the thousands, or simple exploratory analysis at low magnification for gross failure analysis and identification. Along with very high magnification capability from that of a traditional optical microscope is the very high depth of field, which allows for very detailed and easily interpretable images. This aids in the process of root cause failure analysis and subsequent reporting of failures. Finally the oversized specimen chamber allows for large samples on the order of 6” x 6” to be analyzed without destructive sample preparation,important for expensive hardware.
Secondary Electron imaging allows for surface topography mapping. Applications include fracture surface analysis, integrated circuit surface mapping, Micro Electro-Mechanical (MEM’s) inspection and analysis, surface residue analysis and external plating analysis. Backscattered Electron imaging allows for atomic number contrasting and imaging. Applications include contamination analysis, elemental phase mapping and identification and surface quality evaluations.
Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) allows for characteristic x-rays emitted from a sample to be identified, allowing qualitative and quantitative elemental identification on a microscopic scale. In addition, elemental “mapping” can be utilized to produce an image detailing both the composition and structure of the different phases of materials present. Used in conjuction with SEM imaging, elemental identification provides a very powerful tool in evaluating manufacturing processes, materials selection, residue and corrosion identification and quantification, as well as other failure analysis efforts.