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30 SMT Magazine • April 2014 Forensics Uncovers Elusive Defects and Saves PCB Designs SummarY: Products and their supporting PCBs and packages have shrunk so much that it is con- siderably challenging to detect extremely small problems. But a forensic approach can help uncover defects that traditional methods may miss. Can something as tiny as a micro-CSP-pack- aged device, as shown in Figure 1, be the cause of a PCB design defect or its complete failure? As you can see, this tiny package is as small, or even a bit smaller than the letter "L" in the word "Liberty" that is printed on the dime. That's only part of the story. The other part is you and your CM or EMS provider have no clue that's where the defect lies, and worse, even if you guessed that the micro-CSP-packaged de- vice posed the problem, you couldn't find it because it is so elusive and so extraordinarily small. Today, OEMs are increasingly moving to- ward smaller, more portable products and sys- tems. Most of those used to be larger, desktop models a few years ago. However, with recent advances in electronics technologies, various markets are demanding smaller products and systems with the same or greater functionality than their larger ancestors. fEATurE by Zulki Khan nEXlOgIC Figure 1: MicrocSP compared to SoT 23 package on a u.S. dime.

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