The use of integrated circuits (ICs) in the design of electronics is a popular and growing trend. Meanwhile, the manufacture of the IC devices is a very competitive business, and each producer establishes levels of quality in his product which will enable him to make a profit. If, as a result of the profit motive, the vendor's standards for reliability in his ICs are low, and if his quality-control screening before shipment is held to a minimum, the price of the units can be made very attractive to users. The systems manufacturer, however, finds his savings in initial cost canceled by failures of the devices after installation in the larger equipment. Systems producers, in increasing numbers, are being forced to set up their own incoming inspection facilities to weed out potential and actual failures before the semiconductor units are used. The large equipment manufacturer must balance the costs of test-screening all ICs before installation against the degree of deficiencies expected in shipments of unchecked units. He may then set up an inspection and test facility, which can vary in size from simple, semiautomatic IC checking equipment to a fully (and expensively) equipped analysis laboratory.
Examinations by the user of failed integrated circuit devices should include leak testing, curve tracer analysis, d-c-verification testing, dynamic testing, and radiographic inspection. From our experience, the predominant failures observed encompass: wire and bonding, metallization, and photolithographic defects, with a smaller percentage of surface, packaging, and marking deficiencies.