MEMS, Sensors, & Microelectronics Failure Analysis

Veryst offers expertise in a full range of analytical tools and techniques for non-destructive and destructive failure analysis.  Choosing the right analytical method is critical for determining the root cause of a failure.  Some of the non-destructive methods we use begin with high magnification optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.  Testing methods can include electrical, optical, mechanical, and acoustic testing. 

Printed Circuit Board Assembly
Printed circuit board assembly

Assembly Audits

Veryst performs assembly line audits of MEMS, sensors, and PCBA (printed circuit board assembly) manufacturing lines.  Our audits include recommendations for improvements addressing processing, inspection, automation, yield, solder, and contamination, improving our clients' yield and reliability.

Surface Analysis

Microscope in Use

Failure mechanisms in sensors such as MEMS are often due to surface aberrations.  MEMS have a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, and surface-related failure mechanisms such as stiction, wear, and charging are common in MEMS and sensors.  Consequently, surface analysis techniques are particularly important for failure analysis of MEMS.

Veryst uses an array of highly sophisticated techniques for surface analysis.  Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), interferometry, and atomic force microscopy (AFM) can provide detailed images of the surface of a failed part.  Energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDS), auger spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared analysis (FTIR), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOFSIMS), and Raman spectroscopy provide surface elemental and chemical information.  With all of these techniques, specimen preparation is critical and must be specific, clean, and accurate.  Veryst is skilled with this process, and also understands the relative benefits of each of these techniques to collect the relevant surface data most efficiently.  As with most analyses, tedious attention to detail will be rewarded with accurate and clean data.

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Small Sample Size Lifetime Prediction

How long will a product last? This is an essential question during product development, but accurately predicting product end of life can be hampered by limited data. Veryst provides a method for the reliability engineer to predict end of life with a small sample size and shows how the proper lifetime prediction method can eliminate unexpected field failures.

Delamination in Microfluidic Valves

A commonly encountered failure mode in microfluidic devices is delamination between adjacent device layers. Veryst examined the influence of control channel geometry on the delamination pressure of a pneumatic microfluidic valve using finite element analysis.

Multiphysics Analysis of a MEMS Switch

The responses of a MEMS switch immersed in fluids differs from that in a vacuum. Veryst Engineering developed a coupled electrostatic-fluid-structure interaction model to investigate the switch response time, deformation, and energy dissipation.

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