The Art of Failure 2010

The beauty-and creepiness-of chip defects

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Image: Re-Long Chiu & Tim Schnutenhaus
You can’t help but smile back at this beaming “face,” which is actually a defective memory cell stained with a chemical solution. Analysts snapped this cheerful image while investigating the cause of the device’s low breakdown voltage.

Just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one person’s systems failure is another one’s masterpiece. This is the third year that the “Art of Failure Analysis”was featured at the IEEE International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits (IPFA). Participants submitted the most intriguing images they’d captured during chip autopsies. Favorite pictures from the collection, which range from charming to just plain creepy, were on display at the symposium from 5 to 9 July in Singapore.

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