Slideshow: The Art of Failure

Chip defect imagery for fevered imaginations

Last week, at the IEEE's 15th International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits, in Singapore, participants brought pictures of some of the odd, cute, and even scary things they've found during chip examinations and autopsies. The ten winning pictures, evidently selected as much for evocativeness as instructiveness, follow.

PHOTO: Seng Hin Tan

A metal flower growing in silicon oxide soil? This was discovered during a routine scan with an electron microscope. Further analysis showed that the flowerlike structure contained aluminum.