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42 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 Feature Article by Bill Cardoso CREATIVE ELECTRON In my monthly column, I've expressed con- cern about the likelihood of increased coun- terfeiting as a knock-on effect of the chip shortage. Because the incentives for coun- terfeiters are high right now, as an industry we must be somewhat more vigilant in main- taining our best practices for preventing fake parts from corrupting the supply chain and our products. Under normal circumstances the cost asso- ciated with counterfeit electronic components exceeds $5 billion annually. e pressures of the current chip shortage will likely push those losses even higher for as long as the supply remains tight. Still, we all can agree that, if fake parts were to enter your inventory or end up in your products, while the reputational dam- age to your business will likely be significant, it can also be tough to quantify. Even harder yet would be assigning cost should counterfeit components in critical applications contribute to injury or loss of life. So, how about a little refresher on some of the most effective techniques for component inspection using X-ray? While other visual inspection techniques provide important insight into component quality and authenticity, noth- ing exceeds X-ray inspection for fast, accurate, non-destructive evaluation. e following are 10 ways to identify a fake IC using X-ray. 1. Same packaging, different inside. Two components may look identical on the outside, have the same termination, and have the same marking, but be entirely different on the inside. X-ray is the only non-destructive way to look inside a device. ese two 3D render- ings show the entirely different structures of two devices from the same lot (Figure 1). 2. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It is only with 100% inspection that you can be sure all the components are good. Criminals com- monly mix good and fake devices in the same packs or batches to avoid detection. I am sure you can see which one is out of place in Figure 1. 10 Ways to Identify Counterfeit ICs Figure 1: 3D renderings show the entirely different structures of two devices from the same lot.

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