The need for reverse engineering (for IP verification or for reproducibility) has reached unprecedented levels requiring not only the inspection of the circuitry but also the understanding of the packaging and interconnects. Achieving the best X-ray inspection for a particular application depends on an in-depth understanding of the X-ray system configuration, the sample configuration, and the sample preparation techniques available. This paper presents various case examples on the development of advanced X-ray inspection techniques for IC reverse engineering, along with information on the limitations of X-ray imaging, issues with 3D reconstruction, models for resolution configuration improvement, and advantages and disadvantages of advanced sample preparation techniques. It is observed that the novel X-ray inspection techniques, combined with appropriate sample prep techniques, provide the necessary resolution to achieve results necessary for current reverse engineering needs.

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