Collaborating with the right analytical service partner can help you resolve component and system failures, optimize your processes, and improve your product yield more quickly. While this is true for R&D in any industry, it is especially relevant to the world of semiconductor and electronics engineering.

In the modern world of electronics, automated assembly and fabrication processes have streamlined the development of ever-faster, ever-more-powerful devices, components, and technological solutions to evolving demands within the global marketplace. In turn, the production technologies themselves are improved year-over-year, fueling a high-speed, high-intensity market. The explosive pace of electronics innovation raises the stakes for failure analysis in this field.

Nonetheless, at any point from early design stages through production, engineers will inevitably face unexpected complications that can diminish the yield and performance of materials, parts, and assemblies within their devices and systems (what’s worse: if these complications go unchecked or unrealized, these issues may derail the quality or reliability of the end-product!). When product teams encounter electronic or semiconductor failures, most will regroup, strategize, and rework the design of the circuit or device to avoid the issue. If they are fortunate in successfully addressing and rectifying each encountered issue, they may complete a finalized design just in time for testing to validate their solution ahead of implementation.

Of course, this is a best-case scenario. What happens when the changes aren’t successful in addressing the failures? What happens when the source of the problem isn’t clear, and the corrective actions only mask the underlying issue?

These kinds of questions often beget time-intensive – and expensive – testing and redesign work. If the problem cannot be resolved soon enough, products that would otherwise have been of excellent quality and value end up perishing in the break-neck pace of the market.

So, if your device is failing, what’s the fastest and most cost-effective way to troubleshoot the issue and find a viable solution?

The answer is simple yet frequently sidestepped: seek help.

There are countless ways that electronics can fail. Within modern consumer and industrial electronic systems, one can commonly find hundreds to thousands of components, each of which represents a unique set of potential failure mechanisms and modes. These failures can be mechanical, electrical, optical, thermal, or of a unique nature. Each may result from manufacturing, handling, fabrication, installation, environmental factors, or even general usage and degradation over time. Electronic parts are fabricated in bulk, and most components on your PCB or in your product will commonly have been produced outside your company. Isolating and identifying the root cause of failure in such complicated systems is daunting by itself; resolving the failure as quickly as possible demands the right resources and expertise.

Fortunately, you can seek help beyond your team to access the instrumentation and experience needed to find a fast and effective solution. Covalent’s Failure Analysis team can provide insight across a suite of

countless analytical techniques and methods. They bring over 100 years of combined experience in electronic and semiconductor analysis, spanning applications across numerous industries. Working with our experts can save you time, money, and headaches and help you ensure that your products are delivered on schedule while meeting the quality, consistency, and efficiency standards that bring success to products released to the consumer market.

One of the best and most effective methods used by failure analysis experts is Destructive Physical Analysis (DPA), which involves a suite of characterization techniques performed before and after mechanically cross-sectioning [link to Mechanical X-Section Page] a sample.

Learn more:

Read the new eBook on Destructive Physical Analysis on Printed Circuit Boards