The art of failure 2013

Seoul’s Finest Soy Sauce: Chew Su Fang, of Xilinx Asia Pacific, in Singapore, thinks that an X-ray of a chip’s solder bumps ended up looking just like the type of storage pots used for fermenting Korean soy sauce. This image…

Seoul’s Finest Soy Sauce: Chew Su Fang, of Xilinx Asia Pacific, in Singapore, thinks that an X-ray of a chip’s solder bumps ended up looking just like the type of storage pots used for fermenting Korean soy sauce. This image won first prize at the 2013 IEEE International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits (IPFA 2013).

The Three-Finger Severed Hand: Is this a broken bond of a palladium-coated copper wire, or a microscopic severed hand? Clarence Michelle C. Reyes, of Analog Devices Philippines facility, thinks it would be “perfect for Halloween.”

Micromechanical Puppy: This tiny fellow found his way onto a MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) chip in Joanna Grace V. De la Cruz’s lab at Analog Devices.

Will You Marry Me? Aiza B. Alibangbang, of Analog Devices, discovered this diamond-shaped residue from wafer polishing in a cross section of lead. You can also see a creepy blackbird, if you look at the image in just the right way.

A Beacon on a Sea of Silicon: Wan Ru Sun, of Systems on Silicon Manufacturing, in Singapore, hopes this candle can “provide light to help us find the particular defect.”

Watch Out for Microscopic Ninjas! Xing Wu of Southeast University, in China, had hoped that this tungstenite would form a “proper honeycomb shape.” Instead it ended up looking more like a ninja throwing star, or shuriken.

Character Defect 馬: A focused ion beam slicing through layers of silicon left an impression that looks like the word Mǎ, which means “horse” in Mandarin. Chan Wooi Keong, of Advanced Micro Devices Export, in Malaysia, had been trying to evaluate a potential defect when this character appeared.

Under the Sea: This sample could almost be a microscopic gray cousin of the Great Barrier Reef. Leonardo Vinalon, of Analog Devices, thinks it looks especially like the coral, Acropora monticulosa.

Christmas in July: Eliot G. Mangubat, of Analog Devices, thinks these MEMS microphone units look like the kind of Christmas lanterns you find in the Philippines, although they aren’t quite as colorful.

Smiling Back at You: Philippe von Gunten and Joerg Dreybrodt, of EM Microelectronics, in Switzerland, found this happy solder-ball man smiling up at them. He bears a striking resemblance to Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas, or perhaps a friendly hamburger bun.

Dreaming of a White Christmas: In Gerald Neumann’s lab at Infineon Technologies, in Munich, a reaction between gallium ions and some contamination on the surface of this chip resembles the snow-dusted leaves of a fir tree.

Now Will You Marry Me? If the diamond ring from slide four isn’t acceptable, Bingsheng Khoo, of Wintech Nano-Technology Services, in Singapore, suggests using this simple but elegant silicon monoxide rose.