Course Overview

This course provides a systematic approach to root cause failure analysis of electronic products. A methodology will be presented for identifying potential failure mechanisms based on the failure history and the results of failure analysis and testing. Failure analysis techniques will be introduced, including non-destructive inspection, destructive analysis, and materials characterization methods. Example case studies are included. The course will include discussions on the determination of root cause based on the information gathered, and selection of corrective and preventative actions.


Several hours, taught as either a one day or two half-day sessions

Course Outline

1.    Introduction: Closed Loop Root Cause Analysis Process
2.    Non-Destructive Analysis (NDA) Methods

  • Optical Microscopy
  • SEM Imaging and Analysis 
  • X-ray Imaging
  • Acoustic Microscopy

3.    Electrical Testing
4.    Destructive Analysis Techniques 

  • Cross-sectional Sample Preparation for Failure Analysis
  • Focused Ion Beam Etching
  • Dye and Pry, Decapsulation
  • Nano-indentation, Other (Micro-)Mechanical Characterization Techniques
  • Thermal Characterization

5.    Spectroscopic, Surface Analytical, and Materials Characterization Techniques

  • FTIR, Raman, XPS, SIMS, Contact Angle, etc.

6.    Concluding Steps of Root Cause Failure Analysis Process


Related CALCE Courses

  • Physics of Failure of Electronic Products
  • Introduction to Electronic Packaging Materials

Related Texts


Dr. Diganta Das
University of Maryland
College Park, 20742
Dr. Michael H. Azarian  
(301) 405-7555
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
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