Decapsulating wire-bonded plastic packages using fuming nitric or sulfuric acid is one of the most widely used methods for exposing a die during failure analysis [1]. The need to have physical access to the die in a packaged semiconductor device is often essential in the FA process. Regularly, the entire surface of the die must be exposed to take full advantage of techniques such as Emission Microscopy or Liquid Crystal. However, removing the plastic encapsulant using corrosive acids, such as fuming sulfuric acid, presents a challenge: achieving a fully exposed die surface while maintaining the device’s electrical functionality. Here we describe how our decapsulation process has evolved to address this challenge, resulting in improved survival rates for plastic packages decapsulated in the lab.

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