DPA (Destructive Physical Analysis)
Contact: Jeff Jacques
Each step that a manufactured device or product goes through is designed to increase its value and function, but also has the potential to introduce challenges. These could include improper assembly and inadequate, or contaminated, materials or processing.
With the growing trend of contract manufacturing arrangements, foreign outsourcing of parts and shrinking tolerances in final products, the number of ways in which a minor variation in assembling methodology or quality can impact the final part or product has increased significantly in recent years.
In a perfect world, real-time monitoring during manufacturing would be able to catch these issues, but it’s often extremely fine details that lie on the interior of the finished product that can make the greatest impact.
In many situations, product features can only be revealed by disassembling or dissecting a final product. A common way to perform this type of analysis is with cross-sections, which involves supporting the sample with a high hardness epoxy and then cutting through the sample with a diamond saw. Then, using precision abrasives and polishing materials, a flat section through a given area of interest can be revealed. This provides for the microscopic analysis of the interaction between different components within the sample. In the case of even more sensitive or smaller samples, focused ion beam (FIB) sections can be prepared. This allows for the examination of sections on the order of several microns. For the ultimate resolution, thin sections of a sample can be prepared for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis on the order of a single nm or smaller.
While it is often desirable to learn as much as possible before altering what might be a unique or hard to obtain sample, EMSL Analytical understands the process and workflow associated with both non-destructive and destructive physical analysis. Our experienced staff of scientists and engineers work with clients through the various stages and options to perform both non-destructive and iterative destructive analysis. This allows us to develop as much information as possible to find any problems that might be lurking just below the surface.