Assessing Electronic Devices with 3D X-Ray Imaging and Electron Microscopy

Assessing Electronic Devices with 3D X-Ray Imaging and Electron Microscopy
This article presents workflows that combine 3D X-ray microscopy, nanoscale tomography, and electron microscopy for visualization of the interior of electronic devices.
Analysis Lab


Authored By:

Herminso Villarraga-Gómez, Ph.D., Kyle Crosby, Ph.D.
Carl Zeiss Industrial Quality Solutions, LLC


This article presents advanced workflows that combine 3D X-ray microscopy (XRM), nanoscale tomography, and electron microscopy to generate detailed visualization of the interior of electronic devices and assemblies to enable the study of internal components for failure analysis (FA). Recently developed techniques such as integrating deep learning (DL)-based algorithms for 3D image reconstruction are also discussed in this article.

Additionally, a DL-based tool (called DeepScout) is introduced that uses high-resolution 3D XRM datasets as training data for lower resolution, higher field of view datasets and scales larger volume data using a neural network. Ultimately, these workflows can be performed independently or complementary to other multiscale correlative microscopy assessments and will provide valuable insights into the internal workings of electronic packages and integrated circuits across multiple length scales, from macroscopic features on electronic devices (e.g., hundreds of mm) to microscopic details in electronic components (in the order of tens of nm).

Understanding advanced electronic systems through X-ray imaging and electron microscopy, possibly integrated with additional correlative microscopy investigations, can accelerate development time, increase cost efficiency, and simplify FA and quality inspection of electronic packaging, printed circuit boards (PCBs) and electronic devices assembled with new emerging technologies.


Advances in electronic packaging have led to 3D level integration, an increase in the number of interconnects, and a reduction in solder pitch, volume, and height. This results in increasingly complex packaging architectures, creating new manufacturing challenges and greater risks of failure. Furthermore, because the physical location of faults is often buried within these complex 3D structures, conventional FA methods are becoming less effective. New techniques are needed to isolate and determine the root cause of failures. Recent advances in 3D X-ray imaging enable new FA workflows for electronic devices with the integration of 3D XRM (with RaaD, HART, and DL reconstruction capabilities) and nanoscale tomography.

These imaging workflows enable spatially resolved imaging of fine details within electronic devices without interfering with or destroying the root cause of the failure. Due to the multiscale nature of electronic packages, with relevant feature sizes ranging from nanometers to centimeters, the use of correlative imaging workflows that include other imaging methods such as electron microscopy may be useful (e.g., see Figure 9 and Figure 10). Furthermore, using deep learning-based algorithms for CT reconstruction allows the application 3D XRM workflows in a much more cost-effectively way by reducing the time required for data acquisition. DL-based X-ray inspection technologies will have a major impact on the testing and failure analysis of advanced semiconductor packages where non-destructive imaging at sub-micrometer levels of resolution is often required.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings


No comments have been submitted to date.

Submit A Comment

Comments are reviewed prior to posting. You must include your full name to have your comments posted. We will not post your email address.

Your Name

Your Company
Your E-mail

Your Country
Your Comments