Decapsulation of plastic packaged components is frequently necessary for failure analysis or product development. Conventional techniques utilize an acid etch process, which is not compatible with copper and other acid-sensitive materials. There is limited ability to alter etch geometry or selectively decapsulate individual circuit elements. Laser ablation using a raster scanned Nd:YAG laser was used for selective decapsulation of temperature sensitive passive components in a PDIP packaged DC-DC converter. Copper welds, nylon insulated ferrite, and polyesterimide insulated magnet wire were decapsulated without damage, allowing failure analysis of a miniature transformer and its associated welded leads.

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