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38 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2022 that hold their members to high quality stan- dards and practices, including screening for counterfeit parts. ere are, unfortunately, many unscrupu- lous dealers who are perfectly happy to pass on fake components, and then just change their DBA and web address like a pit crew changes tires. Legitimate resellers will have strict prac- tices for evaluating the authenticity of com- ponents, and purchasers of chips should too. If you don't already have one in place, this would be a great time to implement a counter- feit detection program. While the chip short- age will end, it will likely persist through 2022, and maybe a bit beyond. Counterfeiters, on the other hand, will persist forever. So, what advice does an X-ray expert have when it comes to the problem of counterfeit chips? First, carefully vet all new suppliers. Don't let the limited availability of parts and the pressure that creates cause you to make an exception to your normal evaluation process. Second, X-ray them (the parts, not the ven- dor), of course. e self-serving nature of that advice aside, X-ray imaging makes an impor- tant contribution to authenticating electron- ic components. X-ray can reveal internal con- nections within chips that can be compared to documentation or an image of a known good component. Sometimes the inspection can be as simple as identifying a missing die. Oth- er times, inspection may only indicate a subtle difference that renders a part suspect. X-ray, because it is non-destructive, is also one of the few counterfeit interdiction techniques that is suitable for 100% inspection. When combined with AI soware and automation, X-ray in- spection of components can even be fully au- tomated. e semiconductor shortage has been a headache, to say the least, but it won't be the least of your headaches if you have a close en- counter with counterfeits. I encourage you to utilize the resources of organizations like IDEA and ERAI in developing best practices and connecting with quality distributors. Like- wise, my inbox is always open if you have ques- tions about how best to avoid the scourge of counterfeits. Stay vigilant, my friends. SMT007 Bill Cardoso is CEO of Creative Electron and an I-Connect007 columnist. To contact Cardoso or read past columns, click here. Figure 1: Visually identical on the outside, X-ray easily identifies internal differences.

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