Failure Analysis (FA) Equipment


Setting up a failure analysis laboratory from scratch is not easy nor cheap.  It goes without saying that the process of setting up an FA lab requires diligent planning up-front.  The two major aspects of setting up an FA lab are the preparation of the facility and the purchase of the FA equipment.


Much thought needs to go into the correct choice of the FA equipment, since a lot of these are quite expensive.  Most companies set up their FA lab in stages, gradually building up the FA capability of the lab over time.  Many FA managers follow three (3) stages (Basic, Good, and Advanced capabilities) in setting up their FA labs, which are presented in Tables 1 to 3 below.


Table 1. Basic FA Capability

FA Equipment


Estimated Cost (USD)

Curve Tracer and Break-out Boxes

I/V Curve Tracing

10K - 20K

Digital Multimeters

Bench Testing

5K - 10K

Power Supplies/Signal Generators

Bench Testing

5K - 10K


Bench Testing

10K - 20K

Low-power Microscope

Optical Inspection

5K - 10K

High-power Microscope

Optical Inspection

10K - 50K

Fume Hood and Glassware

Manual Decapsulation

5K - 15K

Vise and Assorted Hand Tools

Mechanical Decapsulation



Table 2. Good FA Capability

FA Equipment


Estimated Cost (USD)

Microprobing Station

Probing / Thermography

40K - 100K

Laser Cutter

Circuit Isolation

20K - 40K

Microsectioning Equipment


40K - 80K

High-Resolution X-ray System

X-ray Radiography

100K - 200K

Automatic Decapsulation System


20K - 30K

Reactive Ion Etcher

Die Delayering

40K - 60K

SEM/EDX System

SEM / EDX Analysis

300K - 400K


Table 3. Advanced FA Capability

FA Equipment


Estimated Cost (USD)

Light Emission Microscope

Light Emission Microscopy

150K - 200K

Scanning Acoustic Microscope

Acoustic Microscopy

200K - 250K

Focused Ion Beam Machine

FIB Analysis

500K - 700K

FTIR Spectrometer

FTIR Analysis

60K - 80K

TEM System

TEM Inspection

400K - 500K

Auger Spectrometer

Auger Analysis



FA Techniques:   Failure Verification Optical Inspection Xray Radiography;

Curve Tracing Decapsulation Sectioning MicrothermographyLEM;

Microprobing Die Deprocessing Focused Ion Beam SEM/TEM Acoustic Microscopy;

Other FA Techniques


See Also:   Failure Analysis Package FailuresDie Failures Reliability Engineering;

Reliability Modeling




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