High-Resolution Computed Laminography (HRCL) for electronic components


Flat assemblies such as electronic circuit boards can only be examined with insufficient resolution due to their usually large sample geometry. The distance between the X-ray source and the sample is usually too great to examine small sub-areas more closely and to detect the smallest defects such as cracks or pores in solder connections (BGA, QFN, QFP).

Fraunhofer IKTS offers a special X-ray tomography method for this task, which can analyze sub-areas of large-area circuit carriers such as printed circuit boards in high resolution and non-destructively.

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With the so-called High Resolution Computed Laminography (HRCL), Fraunhofer IKTS in Dresden has a unique method for the examination of printed circuit boards, in which the test specimen can be examined in high resolution (up to 3 µm³) and with only one rotation. Extensive sample preparation for PCB inspection is no longer necessary. 

Measurement principle

© Fraunhofer IKTS
Functionality of high-resolution computed laminography for the study of flat electronic assemblies.

High-Resolution Computed Laminography (HRCL) is an optimization of the cone-beam tomography process. Due to the modified alignment of the X-ray tube and X-ray detector, HRCL makes it possible to position a flat electronic assembly very close to the X-ray source while retaining full freedom of rotation. Thanks to the modified measurement setup and an optimized reconstruction algorithm, the high-resolution inspection of printed circuit boards is no longer a problem.

For example, control boards for automotive or power electronics as well as systems embedded in CFRP structures can be analyzed non-destructively (completeness tests, pore analysis, void analysis, dimensional accuracy analysis). HRCL often offers a substitute for the production of metallurgical sections and the results can be used to better plan a destructive test. The electronic assemblies can be subjected to further characterization directly after the measurement. 

© Fraunhofer IKTS
3D visualization of a BGA ball riddled with cracks and voids.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Crack through the interposer of a BGA.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
2D view of a 100 % crack in a BGA ball.

  • Printed circuit board testing: Completeness tests, pore analysis, void analysis, dimensional accuracy analysis
  • Testing of systems embedded in CFRP panels

  • 225 kV microfocus X-ray tube
  • 2048 x 2048 pixel area detector
  • Max. real resolution: > 3 µm/voxel
  • Max. Sample diagonal: < 300 mm (< 700 mm with restrictions in the measuring range)
  • Max. Sample weight: < 6 kg

  • Non-destructive, high-resolution PCB inspection and small series testing without preparation effort
  • Fully reconstructed volume data sets in the desired format
  • Support for data viewing software
  • Individual evaluation of the measurement data