Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Recent Technology Advances for X-ray Inspection
Recent Technology Advances for X-ray Inspection
This paper reviews x-ray system types and what they provide for resolution, magnification, power, pixel size and the effects of radiation damage.
Analysis Lab

Authored By:
David Bernard, Ph.D., Keith Bryant
Nordson DAGE, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, U.K.
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Transcript
Taking x-ray images goes back over 100 years. Since then, there have been numerous advances in terms of x-ray tube and x-ray detector technology and these have been increasingly applied into helping with the manufacturing of electronic components and assemblies, as well as in their failure analysis.

Most recently, this has been rapidly driven by the continued reduction in board, device and feature size and the movement to using newer, lower density materials within the structures, such as copper wire replacing gold wire as the interconnection material of choice within components.

In order to meet these challenges and those in the future, there have been a number of recent key improvements to the vital components within x-ray systems.

In particular, there is a new x-ray tube type that permits high magnification inspection at improved resolution, yet retains high tube power under these conditions, allowing good x-ray flux for inspection of the smallest features.   There is also the availability of new and improved x-ray detectors that are now specifically designed for electronics applications that are able to take best advantage of these tube developments.

The choice of available technologies, however, means selecting the tube and detector combination that is optimum for a particular electronics inspection application is no longer so clear cut.

One configuration may provide certain benefits that are applicable for one area of electronics inspection, whilst being less valid for others.

This paper reviews the various x-ray tube and detector types that are available. It explains the implications of these choices for electronics inspection in terms of what they provide for image resolution, magnification, tube power, detector pixel size and the effects of detector radiation damage.   The paper also suggests optimum configurations for the main electronics inspection tasks required today.
Summary
Taking x-ray images goes back over 100 years. Since then, there have been numerous advances in terms of x-ray tube and x-ray detector technology and these have been increasingly applied into helping with the manufacturing of electronic components and assemblies, as well as in their failure analysis. Most recently, this has been rapidly driven by the continued reduction in board, device and feature size and the movement to using newer, lower density materials within the structures, such as copper wire replacing gold wire as the interconnection material of choice within components.

In order to meet these challenges and those in the future, there have been a number of recent key improvements to the vital components within x-ray systems. In particular, there is a new x-ray tube type that permits high magnification inspection at improved resolution, yet retains high tube power under these conditions, allowing good x-ray flux for inspection of the smallest features. There is also the availability of new and improved x-ray detectors (both image intensifiers and CMOS Flat Panels) that are now specifically designed for electronics applications, rather than hand-me-downs from the needs of the medical market, which are able to take best advantage of these tube developments.

The choice of available technologies, however, means selecting the tube / detector combination which is optimum for a particular electronics inspection application is no longer so clear cut. For example, one configuration may provide certain benefits that are applicable for one area of electronics inspection, whilst being less valid for others. This paper will review the various x-ray tube and detector types that are available and explain the implications of these choices for electronics inspection in terms of what they provide for inspection regarding image resolution, magnification, tube power, detector pixel size and the effects of detector radiation damage, amongst others. It will also suggest optimum configurations for the main electronics inspection tasks required today.
Conclusions
This paper has discussed the various x-ray tube and detector technologies that are available today for the x-ray inspection needs of electronics. It has shown their relative advantages and disadvantages and suggests some system configurations to provide the best inspection for particular applications.
Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings
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