Failure Analysis Service

Advanced Microscopy enabled FA services for Semiconductor clients

Based around our advanced Microscopy and FIB expertise, NanoScope offer a suite of fast turn Failure Analysis services for our semiconductor clients.

Each analysis can be specified for 3 levels of detail, depending on your time-line for resolving the issue and budgetary requirements.

  • Basic – an initial investigation to check specifically defined elements are in order.
  • Intermediate – a more in depth investigation checking the specifics of the product in line with the specifications stated.
  • Detailed – a more involved investigation to identify the route cause of a specific problem which may involve a more iterative approach and more detailed consultation.

We are happy to offer cost-free initial consultancy for selecting which procedures and techniques are the most applicable for solving your issue the most efficiently.

Services offered

  • External optical examination
  • Build a test socket board
  • Basic benchtop electrical testing
  • X-ray package analysis
  • CSAM package analysis
  • Decapsulation
  • Internal optical inspection
  • Anti-counterfeit check (structure/features)
  • FIB/FEG-SEM internal inspection
  • In-circuit electrical micro-probing (inc. to FIB probe pads)
  • FIB Sectioning and imaging (w/wo iterative slicing)
  • Process Metrology (inc. SI/SE imaging)
  • SEM EDS studies
  • FIBxTEM Sectioning
  • TEM imaging analysis (TEM/STEM) – BF/DF
  • TEM X-ray or EELS elemental analysis
  • Written report

Based on your description of the issue identified, we will propose a workflow with a level of detail and a cost for the analysis process prior to starting the project. Should additional investigative work be required during the analysis this can be easily added at the time.


EMMI fault finding with metal layers removed by FIB.



Non-destructive X-ray analysis of packaged parts.


Adding probe pads to any node for electrical debug.

In-situ or Ex-situ? Get an unbiased view on which TEM section lift-out method is best for you.

NanoScope FIB technology article. Just posted here is the full article discussing the relative merits of both methods of FIBxTEM section extraction and the factors to consider when choosing which is better for your sample types. You may think the answer is a foregone conclusion, with in-situ foil extraction being clearly more advanced and more effective as an extraction method than ex-situ, but hold on to that thought, as there may be some less obvious issues that are worth your consideration. Included here is a detailed analysis of each of these rival techniques across the following areas of applicability – 1st      Speed – with the hands down winner being ex-situ 2nd     Yield – more controversial with advocates on both sides 3rd     Quality issues (of the section produced) 4th     Cost – a clear winner here 5th     Versatility – not such a common topic but vital for TEM users 6th     Ease of use – this must be a slam dunk or? 7th     Special circumstances Lets just check our terms and the common perception of what’s what for this technique. FIBxTEM section or foil = The site specific FIB milled sample biopsy that is FIB polished to become electron transparent and extracted to a TEM grid before being transferred to a TEM microscope for more detailed studies. ‘in-situ’ foil extraction – where a ‘thick’ biopsied section is transferred to a TEM grid inside the FIB-SEM instrument using a nano-manipulator and attached there before being FIB polished to the required ‘thinness’ and then transferred to a TEM. ‘ex-situ’ foil extraction – where a site specific feature is thinned to electron transparency BEFORE extraction, then... read more

New plastic package decapsulation capability launching soon.

            NanoScope is bringing additional capabilities in house – from Unisem. Unisem has been a key supplier for NanoScope Services for many years, and we have worked closely together to offer our clients the best support available from both sites. The unfortunate recent closure of the Unisem Crumlin site has been widely seen as a reduction in the strategic capabilities of the UK semiconductor industry, both in terms of the equipment available but also the extensive experience of the engineers who worked there. However, NanoScope has been successful in acquiring much of the FA capability of the Unisem facility and we are now in the process of transferring this equipment over to our Bristol Laboratory. We plan to offer Dual-acid decapsulation from early February 2014, with even shorter turnaround times than previously, with other techniques to follow. For more information please contact Lloyd Peto at NanoScope on 07768 172049 Or email... read more

Accelerating MEMS development with FIB Nano-Surgery

In this article I will be discussing why the growth in MEMS development is lagging the growth that was witnessed for IC development in many respects – but highlighting that there are valuable lessons available to accelerate future growth too.Both for design and manufacture there are non-trivial challenges that continue to hinder the growth of this technology in the way IC technology developed. The emergence of Fabless MEMS design houses as a successful model is only just starting to expand. The promise of successfully mimicking Fabless Chip design houses as a functioning corporate model, has not happened as expected. Fabless growth is limited by many factors such as an absence of standardisation, a diverse range of foundry capabilities, and also that MEMS behavioural modelling is still the poor cousin of IC modelling.Independent MEMS foundries are also struggling to mimic the growth seen by their IC brethren. The lack of standardisation and the variety of FAB processes required to support a broad spectrum of MEMS designs, continues to be a hindrance. Routine volume based profits available from a dial-up/high yield/integrated process are proving elusive. Every MEMS Foundry is offering a different toolset and process book, and yields/costs can still be variable. Because the range of applications is so diverse, it is difficult to streamline or standardise the manufacturing process for clients supporting different markets. There are no ‘off the shelf’ processes that can be equally applied to devices as varied as a microphone and a gyroscope, and the old adage of ‘1 process/1 product’ is proving to be difficult to overcome. This situation is further complicated by the introduction of MEMS... read more

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