It’s the Art of Failure Analysis photo comp

Fresh from Singapore’s International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits comes a fascinating selection of images which were entered into, yes, the conference’s annual photography competition

Fresh from Singapore’s International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits comes a fascinating selection of images which were entered into, yes, the conference’s annual photography competition…

The winning image was by Lim Saw Sing of Infineon Technologies in Malaysia, who won first prize for the above picture of what could well be a large group of people cavorting on a beach (and clearly on drugs). It’s actually a scanning electron microscope image of what happened when Sing “exposed a polyimide surface to etching by reactive ions”.

Tan Lee Koon of Systems-on-Silicon Manufacturing Co. took third prize with this image of the chipping at the edge of a silicon wafer, examined under a scanning electron microscope

According to the IEEEthe professional association for “the advancement of technology” which organises the symposium, Singapore has one of the largest concentrations of microelectronics technology expertise in Asia.

Flocking to its IPFA conference are a legion of “researchers, engineers, technicians and others who work in the area of Failure Analysis in Wafer FAB, Packages, Board Assembly and Service Labs.”

While we’re not entirely sure what that means (though ‘failure analysis’ is essentially the process of finding out why a particular electronic component fails to work), we do very much like the idea of their photography competition in which images are submitted taken by people working with extremely high powered microscopes.

The results were recently announced on the IEEE’s Spectrum website and linked to by boingboing.net.

According to point three of the rules of the photo competition, “The main judging criterion would be the aesthetic aspect of the image rather than its technical quality to be in line with the theme of the contest. Nevertheless, the image must be related to failure analysis.”

In no particular order, then, here are some of our other favourites from this year’s competition.

This is Lim Chan Way at Infineon Technologies’ picture of a membrane structure (top) sticking to a piece of carbon tape:

This image of what appears to be a set of wings is by Advanced Micro Devices analyst, Foo Fang Jie, who was looking at a fracture in a sample of silicon at the time. It won second prize.

And these scientists are not without a sense of humour in pursuit of lovely imagery. Here’s Jacqueline Kwa at Advanced Micro Devices’ transmission electron microscope picture of a rather elephantine silicon sample:

Finally, Khoo Bing Sheng took this image of a 20-micrometer-wide sculpture made from copper (using focused-ion-beam nano fabrication) at WinTech Nano-Technology.

The full list of winning work is at the IEEE’s Spectrum website, spectrum.ieee.org.

 

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