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Art of Failure 2011

The surprising stuff you find when chips fail

1 min read

Image: Sharon Lee
When the photographer used a focused ion beam to cut into this partially fabricated chip, she thought the result looked like rows of apartments. The "windows" are cross-sections of strips of metal that were layered onto the silicon to convey current, and the separations between "buildings" are interconnects that can link up to other components.

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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