Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Cross-Sectioning of SMT and PCB Related Architectures
Cross-Sectioning of SMT and PCB Related Architectures
Techniques in performing precision and analytical micro-sections, which fuse the techniques common in preparation of silicon wafers and bulk materials are discussed.
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Authored By:
Manuel J. Solis "Paco"
Foresite Inc.
Kokomo, IN, USA

Summary
The electronics industry has been using the epoxy puck for the processing of the vast majority of electronics microsections since the 1970s. Minimal advancements have been seen in the methods used for precision micro-sections of PCBs, PCBAs, and device packages. This paper will discuss different techniques and approaches in performing precision and analytical micro-sections, which fuse the techniques and materials common in preparation of silicon wafers and bulk materials.

These techniques have not only been found to produce excellent optical results, but transfer effectively to SEM for high-magnification inspection and further analysis with minimal post-lapping preparation needed. Additionally, processing time is reduced primarily due to a significant reduction of bulk material removal earlier in the preparation, therefore needing less removal at later lapping steps compared to traditional sectioning methods. Additional techniques are introduced that mitigate some classic challenges experienced by technicians over the decades.

Conclusions
The tripod method of cross-section has a number of distinct advantages for imaging and analyzing SMT and PCB related architectures. One large advantage is the ability to create low bulk material specimens which easily transfer to SEM analysis.

These advantages allow for stable imaging and other electron beam related analyses with minimal preparation after lapping and polishing.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings

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