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Counterfeit Electronic Parts Detection through Packaging Evaluation
Keywords: counterfeit, packaging, detection
Counterfeit electronic parts have become a significant cause of worry among the electronics part supply chain. There are not many documented instances of illegal manufacturing yet for semiconductor parts. Most of the counterfeit parts detected in the electronics industry are either new or surplus parts or salvaged scrap parts. Packaging of these parts is altered to modify their identity. The modification can be as simple as removal of marking and remarking at one end and recovery of die and repackaging at the other end of level of processing and sophistication. All package modifications leave behind a trace and we will present a systematic methodology for detecting signs of possible part modifications to determine the risk of a part or part lot being counterfeit. The evaluation methodology begins with visual inspection and marking permanency tests for external compliance, x-ray inspection for internal compliance. These are followed by material evaluation in destructive and non-destructive manner such as XRF and material characterization for the mold compound. These processes are then followed by evaluation of the packages to identify defects degradations by failure mechanisms that are caused by the processes (e.g., cleaning, solder dipping of leads, reballing) used in creating counterfeit parts. This method of assessment is necessary since the electrical functionality and parameters may be met by the counterfeit parts but their authenticity can only be evaluated by the packaging evaluation. The latent damages caused by the counterfeiting process can only be detected by packaging evaluation and we implement the package reliability and failure mechanism information in our detection method. We also provide recommendation on developing tamper evident electronic packages that will create barriers to counterfeiting in future.
Kaushik Chatterjee, Graduate Research Assistant
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

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