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Failure Analysis requires semiconductor design and processing knowledge, logical thinking, and detective skills. In many respects, the job of failure analyst is much like the job of a detective. The failure analyst must search for clues and evidence as to what might have caused the circuit to fail the way it did. Each and every clue that the analyst uncovers (through testing or examination) may potentially be important. This requires that the analyst be organized and develop a story that makes sense. In other words, the failure mechanism found must correlate to the observed failure mode.
There are also several guiding practical principles when performing failure analysis. The first and most important principle is to understand what detail of analysis is required by your customer. This is important for two reasons. One reason is that we do not want to perform extra work if it is not necessary. Performing an in-depth, detailed analysis may not be necessary if all the customer want to know is whether or not he or she damaged the device. The second reason is that we do want to take extra care and precaution for a critical failure. For example, if the device we are analyzing is suspected to have caused the failure of a satellite launch, we will want to take extra care and perform the analysis in a great amount of detail.
Being able to understand what techniques to perform in what order is the hallmark of a mature product analyst. Determining what techniques to perform and what tests to run require both knowledge of the techniques and philosophy behind failure analysis, as well as an understanding of the product to be analyzed. To learn more about this topic, examine the materials in this workspace.
(Includes this and other materials.)
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This material covers the principles and procedures that are used to guide the analyst through the failure analysis process. It includes topics on high level analysis flow, and specific topics like interpreting damage. This material also includes flowcharts on a variety of topics.
Interpreting Overstress Damage
Principles and Procedures - Part 1
Principles and Procedures - Part 2
Principles and Procedures - Part 3
Quiz: Principles and Procedures
Principles and Procedures - Part I (Japanese)
Principles and Procedures
Principles and Procedures Certificate
Gathering background information is a critical part of any failure analysis effort. Having the proper information and history on a failure can make an analysis run smoothly and avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes. This material covers the type of background information that should be gathered for an analysis.
Gathering Background Information
This material covers the overall process of a Failure Analysis effort from beginning to end. The idea is to understand how FA principles and procedures determine which techniques to use, and how one can isolate down to the failure mechanism, then determine the root cause, and then recommend corrective action. We provide several Case Histories for the user to test their skills determining the correct path for an analysis.
Failure Analysis Case Histories
This is the final test for failure analysis. It must be completed with a passing grade (70% or greater) in order to receive a certificate in failure analysis.
FA Final Test
Failure Analysis - Procedures Certificate