DPA (Destructive Physical Analysis)
In manufacturing, every step that a device or product goes through increases the value and function of the device, but also has the potential to introduce issues from improper assembly, inadequate or contaminated materials or processing. With the increasing number of contract manufacturing arrangements, foreign outsourcing of parts and shrinking tolerances in the final products, the number of ways in which a small variation in assembling methodology or quality can impact the final part has increased significantly.
In an ideal world, real time monitoring during manufacture should be able to limit issues, but it’s often extremely fine details that lie on the interior of the finished product that can make the largest impact on the final results. There are a number of features that can only be revealed by disassembling or dissecting the final product. One of the most common means to perform this type of analysis is with cross-sections, supporting the sample with high hardness epoxy and cutting through the sample with a diamond saw. Using precision abrasives and polishing materials, a flat section through a given area of interest is then revealed, allowing for microscopic analysis of the interaction between different components in the sample. In the case of even more sensitive or smaller samples, focused ion beam (FIB) sections can be prepared, allowing examination of sections on the order of several microns to be prepared, or for the ultimate resolution, thin sections can be prepared for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis on the order of a single nm or smaller.
While it’s often desirable to learn as much from samples as possible before altering what might be a unique or hard to obtain sample, EMSL Analytical, Inc. understands the process and workflow associated with both non-destructive and destructive physical analysis. Our experienced staff can work with you to step through stages of analysis, performing non-destructive and iterative destructive analysis on samples to wring as much information as possible from your samples, so that you can find any problems that might be lurking below the surface.