X-Ray Spex

This month’s counterfeit investigation from Princeps reinforces the value of multiple inspection methods, from optical microscopy to x-ray radiography.

The component in question this month was a hard-to-find FPGA, which was in short supply from a difficult-to-source manufacturer. Hence, the parts were procured from a European broker.

Starting with an optical microscope, initial inspection under medium magnification shows the chip’s pin 1 marker is partially filled in (Fig 1). Clearly, an attempt has been made by the counterfeiter to prevent this happening, as most of the marker is clean.

Further inspection at higher magnification also revealed an interesting cluster of metal bridging two adjacent leads (Fig 2). Obviously, this is not a good thing and would probably make the device malfunction.

Following on from visual inspection, x-rays were conducted on the batch. A couple of differing lead frames were observed among chips in the batch (Fig 3). This is not what would be expected from devices in the same manufacturing lot—a further red flag.

As usual, the parts were rejected as suspected counterfeit, reported via the ERAI and removed from the supply chain.


The post X-Ray Spex appeared first on Electronics Sourcing.

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