Process and failure analysis

Contaminants such as particles, oily films and other undesirable substances not only impair the appearance of a workpiece but also its ability to be processed further and to perform its final intended function. Increasing demands on functionality and reliability, the pursuit of zero-defect quality targets and, last not least, the improvement of existing products, all call for greater use of surface analysis techniques. These analyses are used to identify the causes of disruptions or the source of particles or filmy residues, and to maintain full control of the production process at all times.

The contaminants to be analyzed are frequently invisible to the eye. The analysis methods and measuring techniques employed to characterize engineered surfaces depend on the task at hand. In failure analysis, various methods are used to systematically isolate the cause of the disruption and its source and, if necessary, to reproduce it. A comparison of ‘good’ and ‘bad trials’ will often provide the first indication of where the fault lies. The method selected to analyze series production will depend on criteria that determine ease of handling, operational management considerations, and how this continuous monitoring procedure is to be integrated into the process work flow. Natural science and engineering institutes cooperate to make a variety of analytical methods available for characterizing the degree of cleanliness of cleaned component surfaces. These methods, which are also suitable for small-scale sample runs, work at very high spatial resolutions to detect the smallest traces of contamination. Fraunhofer Cleaning offers a wide range of microscopic and spectroscopic characterization methods. Alongside post-cleaning analytical characterization methods, Fraunhofer Cleaning also provides services that focus on a variety of in-situ testing methods that can be integrated into processes.