Thermal Emission Microscope for Semiconductor Device Fault Isolation


Due to the continued decrease in integrated circuit feature size and supply voltages, detecting and locating the miniscule amount of heat generated by failure sites has become increasingly difficult. The Sentris thermal emission microscope pinpoints the low-level infrared energy emitted by faults on semiconductor devices such as short circuits and leakage current.

Using lock-in thermography analysis, failures can be isolated on both bare (front or backside) and packaged devices and no surface coating is required. Sentris can also locate low-power fail sites on SMD components, such as capacitor leakage. The x, y position of defect sites can be located, as well as defect depth. Depth analysis can be very helpful when isolating faults in stacked die packages.

In addition to fault isolation, Sentris also includes thermal analysis tools for true temperature mapping, junction temperature measurement, die attach evaluation, and thermal resistance evaluation.


The price for a complete Sentris system is $55,900 (included Sentris components). Optional components are available to extend Sentris features and capabilities (optional Sentris components).

Fast and Simple

There are several disadvantages and limitations involved with traditional fault isolation using liquid crystal analysis including low sensitivity, slow response, and the requirement for device surface coating. Liquid crystal analysis is limited to detecting hot spots greater than 0.1°C and because liquid crystal analysis involves steady-state device powering, the heat generated by faults diffuses through semiconductor material, blurring the location of the defect source.

Sentris overcomes the limitations of liquid crystal analysis. No surface coating is required, and hot spots below 0.001°C can be detected. Furthermore, high-frequency lock-in thermography minimizes heat diffusion, enabling the precise location of faults.

Functional and Uncomplicated

The innovative Sentris fault isolation process was developed by Optotherm to simplify and reduce the cost of the lock-in thermography process. Traditional lock-in thermography systems include complex function generators and power supplies in order to synchronize device power with the capture of infrared images. By eliminating the need for these complicated and expensive instruments, Sentris provides a straightforward and affordable technique to semiconductor defect isolation.

Faults Detected

Features and Capabilities

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