Failure Analysis for Improved Reliability

1Failure analysis is a vital tool in the effort to ensure reliability of electronic products and systems throughout their product lifecycle. Today, organizations involved in activities within the electronics supply chain are facing new challenges, not just from complex assembly styles, harsher lifecycle environments, and more sophisticated tools, but also from customers who are demanding a quicker turn-around. Unfortunately, root cause failure analysis is often performed incompletely, leading to a poor understanding of failure mechanisms and causes, and loss of resources and customers due to recurrence of failures. The tools and techniques applied by many test and failure analysis labs today2 are geared only toward uncovering the apparent causes of failure, not necessarily the root causes. Thus, the corrective actions applied by manufacturers or end-users do not always eliminate problems. This can result in expensive, time-consuming, repeat occurrences of failures.

A professional development (PD) course titled, “Failure Analysis for Improved Reliability” is being offered at IPC APEX EXPO 2014 on Monday, March 24 from 2:00 pm–5:00 pm. PD20 will discuss a range of topics, including root cause analysis, physics-of-failure principles and failure mechanisms in electronics. Specimen preparation techniques, non-destructive and destructive analysis, and materials characterization will also be discussed.

The first half of the course will present methodologies for identifying potential failure mechanisms in electronics 3based on the failure history, trends and hypothesization tools. The latter half covers failure analysis techniques such as optical inspection, electrical verification, cross-section, X-ray, SEM and EDS.

Case studies and Q&A session will help illustrate the techniques and analysis. Case studies include printed board level failures, active semiconductors, passives and assemblies.


Bhanu Sood, Director, Test Services and Failure Analysis
Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE)
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
Tel: +1 301-405 3498, e-mail:
Skype: calce_umd

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