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Microelectronic reliability, failure analysis and reverse engineering


This project made the NMRC reliability, failure analysis and reverse engineering facility, established to support the ESA and to meet ESA standards, available for external users. The facility is unique in that reliability is addressed at all levels from chip to circuit board and is fully supported by the IC design and fabrication facilities of the NMRC. The facility allows users to evaluate, in one location, the reliability of new microelectronic technologies or electronic assemblies to the most exacting national and international standards.

The LIP grant allowed the centre to upgrade its facilities in both the reliability and failure analysis areas. The capability to complete reliability evaluations and failure analysis on IC devices as well as package and system level assemblies meant that many research disciplines within microelectronics can now be catered for through this facility.

Typical project examples included:
- Electromigration failure verification in multilayer IC metallisation
- Antireflectance coating characterisation for IC surface applications
- Chip-on-Board failure analysis
- IR imaging of electromigration test die to determine metallisation temperature
- Thermal and acoustic imaging for die attach optimisation
- Solder joint reliability evaluation to investigate effects of substrate and reflow method
- Refractory metallisation reliability characterisation for high temperature IC applications.
In addition to the above projects, a strong training programme has been developed with many institutes visiting to take courses in IC failure analysis techniques.


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Western Road, Presentation Buildings
30 Cork

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