C SAM – Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

for Electronic Components

Among other types of failures, acoustic techniques are particularly suitable for the detection of those irregularities involving materials and density changes, including voids and porosity as well as cracks and delamination, in any kind of EEE component.

Therefore this NON-DESTRUCTIVE testing method is included in different EVALUATION, SCREENING and LOT VALIDATION flows for several family of EEE components, which can be found in doEEEt platform.

ALTER TECHNOLOGY has a huge experience on this testing method, with the perfect cocktail of cutting edge equipment and experienced technicians.

Scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) also denominated acoustic micro imaging (AMI) and scanning acoustic tomography (SAT) is a consolidated and recognized tool for quality control, inspection and failure analysis of microelectronic components and materials. In Alter Technology we have all the tools to help you in your design; with ONE-STOP-SHOP that means: find your components in doEEEt and test them in Alter Technology.

The working principle of the technique is based on the reflection that acoustic waves experience at the interface between different media and density irregularities. Thus, the approach makes use of focalized ultrasound (MHz to GHz) pulses to image material interfaces and boundaries as well as hidden physical damages, either generated during manufacturing or induced after environmental testing and prolonged normal operation.

As illustrated in the figure, the technique is routinely used for the nondestructive detection of internal flaws such as:

The bright and dark contrast indicates whether the defect is under of over the underfill

Detected failures

  • Delaminations
  • Voids and porosity
  • Cracks
  • Particles inclusions and foreign materials


  • Packing materials including mold compounds
  • Semiconductors
  • Ceramics and glasses
  • Adhesives (e.g underfills)
  • Metals

Hence, during the last decades, SAM has proved to be a reliable and powerful tool for the non-destructive inspection in different sectors such as:

  • Space
  • Defense and Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Power and energy
  • Martials analysis: ceramics and composites

C-SAM is a reliable and powerful tool for the non-destructive testing of microelectronic parts and base materials. Moreover, it is mandatory for different applications such as those described below for different sectors.

C-SAM assists in internal (invisible) manufacturing as well as in eliminating material defects that can critically compromise the performance of encapsulated microelectronic parts.

SAM is an acoustic microscopy that gives resolution and inspection depth is an inversely related parameter that depends on the probe frequency and the characteristics of the involved materials


Our Virtual Lab platform for Remote Testing  provides Alter Technology users with:

Virtual LAb

  • Instant access to test results
  • Live chat with our inspectors during and after a test duration
  • Access to Alter Technology database (30 years of accumulated data) for performance comparison with other batches and similar components.

Thanks to the Virtual Lab tool the customer can devise his own test solution specifically adapted to the actual needs and requirements and monitor test results in real time, without the need to wait for the completion of all the activities. Therefore, the final user can adapt the inspection areas and planes depending on the initial results. He will also receive feedback and advice from our test engineers during or thereupon inspection.

Detailed inspection records can be accessed immediately after the activity completion. Thus, manufacturers and users gain valuable time to develop contingency plans and solutions to address detected anomalies.

Our commitment to quality

In Alter Technology the Scanning Acoustic Microscopy Lab involves a qualified (Ph.D., M.Sc.) and a multidisciplinary team specialized in different disciplines such as Materials Science, Physics, Electronics, and Aerospace Engineering; together with a highly experienced technical staff with a solid background in microscopy, materials analysis, and EEE inspection. This team is supported by more than 30 years of experience of Alter Technology in EEE testing and engineering.


Read more about C-SAM

X-Ray Inspection applied to Constructional Analysis Tests

Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM) and X-Ray Tomography

Advantages of SAM for microelectronics inspection

Download FAQs – Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

SAM: Survey to manufacturers and users

Test combination for detecting defects in plastic ICs

What is a C-SAM Inspection?

Scanning Microscopy Equipment our new adquisition

Industry Applications where C-SAM is used

Are there Voids in your IC Plastic Molding?

COTS in space: Does delamination really cause critical failures?

Thermo-mechanical Analyser – TMA – capabilities

Electronic components for motor vehicles: the solution in New Space?

Thermo-Mechanical Analysis

Importance of the SAM for delamination detection

Radiographic X-Ray Inspection

Component Testing for New Space Applications

Webinar – SAM: Non-destructive inspection of plastic COTS parts and beyond

Quality Issues in the procurement of Operational Amplifiers

Non-Destructive Detection of Delaminations in PCBs Assemblies

SAM Capabilities, Analyse the internal structure in EEE Parts


OpAmps in Plastic Packages

SAM, the preferred method for the non-destructive internal inspection

Renesas-INTERSIL: Radiation Tolerant Plastic Products

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS: Space Enhanced products (SEP)

SAM: Main Issues in Plastic Encapsulated Systems

SAM: Test flow and procedures

C-SAM Questions & Answers

How to protect your COTS parts during C-SAM inspections.

Non-destructive internal inspection of EEE parts and passive components

SAM Test methods: comparisons

Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (C-SAM) of in Stacked Capacitors

Considering the risk of retinning on QFN package

Ultrasonic Examination of Ceramic Capacitors by Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

C-SAM: Crack detection within plastic packages

Alter Technology SAM Additional Testing Capabilities

Failure Analysis of Capacitors and Inductors

CSAM Techniques for COTS Validation

Overview of current EEE Components Market Solutions for New Space

Non-destructive detection of micrometric internal features within EEE microelectronic systems.

Acoustic Inspection of Hybrid Systems on Laminated Substrates

Water ingress through delaminated parts in plastic encapsulated systems

Doing a Confocal Acoustic Inspection on Optoelectronic Components

Inspection of thick EEE plastic encapsulated parts – CSAM Services

Alter Technology SAM Testing Capabilities

Working process of C-SAM in EEE Parts

Alter Technology SAM Internal procedure