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Destructive Evaluation: Microsectioning
Once the failure site is located, usually through electrical testing and visual inspection, microsectioning is often necessary to identify the exact failure mechanism and root cause. The first step in microsectioning often involves potting in an epoxy resin, to ensure planarity and prevent any additional damage from occurring. The potted sample is then cut or ground to reach the area of interest. Final polishing with diamond or alumina particles removes any surface damage from previous steps. Analysis of the polished microsection can be performed using a variety of techniques, such as optical and electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS).
CALCE has extensive facilities to perform microsectioning and subsequent polishing, including a BUEHLER Low-Speed Diamond Saw and three BUEHLER Automatic Polishing Stations.
Cross section of a failed solder joint of an insertion-mount component.