The new dimension of the thermal failure analysis for electronic components –
resolution of microstructures in the micro Kelvin range

The smallest structural elements of a large scale extensive PCB surface provide the imaging properties of the camera technology for demanding tasks. The detection of the smallest hotspots is largely determined by the geometric resolution of the camera – a function of the implemented detector and the optics used. With thermographic cameras by InfraTec, the user has detector formats of up to (1,024 × 768) IR pixels in uncooled and (1,280 × 1,024) IR pixels in cooled operation – values that go far beyond others found on the market and that guarantee thermographic images in unprecedented detail resolution.

In addition to the limits of the geometric resolution, further details in the thermographic analysis of electronic circuits must be observed. In many failure cases to be examined, the object is heated so evenly that a thermal isolation of the cause of the problem is almost impossible. This can be remedied by using a technique for non-destructive material testing with heat flow thermography, making the smallest temperature differences visible- this is called lock-in thermography or active thermography.

The power supply is clocked in this process with a synchronisation module, becoming the active excitation unit. When evaluating a fast image sequence, errors that only affect temperature differences in the milli Kelvin and micro Kelvin range can reliably be detected through evaluation algorithms with active thermography software IRBIS® 3 active.

For the camera series ImageIR® and VarioCAM® by InfraTec, a wide range of optics and additional microscope objectives with the required special accessories are available – such as special holding and positioning devices – allowing for professional micro-thermography. The different configurations for microscopic imaging conditions permit the analysis of small image structures in the range of 15 microns, 5 microns and up to 1.9 microns.

Analysing the smallest structural elements by Active Thermography