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Paying by the Micron - ED-XRF Analysis of Consumer Products
Keywords: process control, thin film measurements, micro analysis
Energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) is a well-established technique for determining metal film thickness, even in rather complex stacks. The recent growth in consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, wearables, and tablet PCs has driven product advancements that include the miniaturization of these devices and the electronic components that are critical to performance. Increased use of consumer electronics has also spawned an explosive growth in accessories, often from third parties, the use of which can result in damage to expensive equipment. Innovative companies producing next-generation products are increasingly introducing new materials to extend the lifetime and performance of their products. In an effort to secure performance and quality, as well as to control costs, high accuracy and efficient measurement of plating thickness and composition on small features, even less than 100 microns, can be of great utility - ED-XRF can be a critical analytical tool in process control interests. Furthermore, original equipment manufacturers have to be vigilant about unlicensed, counterfeit, products being offered to the consumer and ED-XRF can be applied in this forensic capacity. This presentation demonstrates the variation in film thickness, and thus the quality of, various consumer electronic products. The connectors on the devices in question may experience multiple connections/disconnection cycles per day, which can translate to hundreds of opportunities for mechanical erosion of coatings each month. The lifetime of these connectors can vary greatly depending on the coating thickness. The Hitachi FT150 features a silicon drift detector, a large stage, and a measurement spot size under 25 microns, meaning a large number of spots can be tested on even a very small connector. Using this approach, a thickness profile can be generated. The metal coatings on connectors from a variety of vendors can be tested and compared, and in some cases, correlated to the MSRP. Additionally, the rapid stage movement and pattern recognition capabilities mean the FT150 can measure a large number of samples, even of different types, in a short amount of time. IMAGES: three charger connectors to show size and areas measured
Brian Goolsby, Manager of Product Marketing and Business Development
Hitachi High-Technologies America, Inc.
Dallas, TX

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