CSAM – Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

Non-destructive Testing

What is CSAM? 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.

Among other types of failures, acoustic techniques are particularly suitable for detecting those irregularities involving materials and density changes, including delaminations, voids, porosity and cracks, in any EEE components.

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

What can we do for you?

We offer Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM) testing capabilities and services, that include:

Reliability test

Quality Control Screening task

Preliminary non-destructive inspection in DP

This test consists of two phases: Evaluation/Qualification. During the evaluation phase, components/technologies can be extensively characterized, and margins determined. If the evaluation is successful, we can then proceed with Qualification; once qualified, the component is listed in the QPL (Qualified Part List). 

In Alter Technology, we specialize in designing tests and screening procedures for electronic components used in the aerospace, defense, and industrial electronics industries. Tests, inspections, or combination thereof, imposed on 100% of parts to remove unsatisfactory items or those likely to exhibit early failures. 

Destructive Physical Analysis DPA is a systematic, logical, detailed examination of EEE parts at various stages of physical disassembly. This activity is performed in order to verify that the manufactured lot quality is in accordance with the detailed specification and project requirements.   

Failure Analysis

3D Tomography


Failure analysis is the process of analyzing the component data or the component itself to determine the reason(s) for degraded performance or catastrophic failure of a component either, during component manufacturing and testing, during incoming inspection, or after delivery to the customer, at the final application.  

The 3-dimensional information acquired in X-scans permits the tomographic reconstruction of the system’s internal structure. The purpose of a Radiographic Inspection is to nondestructively detect defects that are not otherwise visible: improper positioning of parts, broken elements, inhomogeneities in materials, foreign objects…  

Microsection analysis is performed on an assembled through-hole device as a part of failure analysis. Cross-section through the plane of interest can provide helpful information about solder defects, PCB inner layers, and internal construction. The plane of interest must be selected considering PCB characteristics, observed failure, and previous test results. 


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

Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM) has revealed as the most effective and complete non-destructive approach for the detection of critical and latent anomalies within COTS and plastic encapsulated microelectronics

CSAM Meaning


The working principle of SAM is based on the reflection that acoustic waves experience at the interface between different media and density irregularities.

CSAM Applications


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 various sectors.

CSAM Short Technical Notes


We offer short articles giving a brief description of a specific development, technique, or procedure of CSAM’s capabilities and equipment



SAM: Non-Destructive Inspection Of Plastic COTS Parts And Beyond

During this webinar, we talk about how the Sam technique is the best technique to inspect commercial EEE components for its implementation in high-reliability applications since it provides a deep analysis of the internal structure, integrity, stability, and defect identification of the devices.

CSAM - Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

Are there Voids in your IC Plastic Molding?

Raquel Irene Cano Cordero
November 10, 2021
Voids are defined as a lack of material within the bulk of the moulding compound and are common in ICs since they appear during improper molding manufacturing (injection, extrusion, etc.) and curation.
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