Art of Failure 2011

The surprising stuff you find when chips fail

1 min read

Image: Mary Grace C. Raborar
This contaminated substrate was subjected to elemental analysis aimed at locating sodium, chlorine, and potassium. As it turns out, the potassium was distributed in the “branches” of the fernlike image, and the sodium and chlorine were distributed in the “leaves.”

Sometimes art is accidental. At IEEE's 18th International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits, held 4 to 7 July in Incheon, South Korea, participants submitted pictures of surreal and spectacular close-ups of microchips, competing for the most affecting image. This is the fourth year IEEE Spectrum has featured the finalists from IPFA's "Art of Failure Analysis" contest. Click on the links for winners from 2010, 2009, and 2008.

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