Cross Section Analysis


Cross-sectioning or micro sectioning is a destructive failure analysis technique to expose a plane of interest in a specimen such as die, connector cross section, solder ball, plated materials, PCB Cross Section analysis , or any other device for further analysis or inspection.

A sample preparation consists of cleaning, mounting, and encapsulation of the specimen in polyester or epoxy resin. Sometimes, a sample is sawed to reduce its size prior to encapsulation. This is usually done to fit the specimen perfectly into the mold, as well as to reduce the grinding needed during actual sectioning.

IC Failure Analysis Lab uses the following four different cross-sectioning methods to serve its customer’s needs and requirements.

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Mechanical cross-sectioning is usually a process to expose a plane of interest in a uniform specimen such as IC, PCBA, LED, Metal, Glass… for further inspection. The process consists of diamond sawing, grinding, polishing, and staining the sample until the plane of interest is ready for optical or scanning electron microscopy inspection. The mechanical method of cross sectioning requires the encapsulation of the specimen in epoxy / resin to give it stability, support, and protection.

Dual Beam FIB (Focused Ion Beam):

The DB-FIB method is effective for cross-section specimen preparation of the micro area and thin-film specimen preparation, however, it is not effective for the preparation of a wide surface area of a specimen. FIB is mainly used to create very precise cross-sections of a sample for subsequent imaging via SEM, STEM, or TEM or to perform circuit modification.

Plasma FIB (Focused Ion Beam):

The P-FIB and DB-FIB methods differ from each other in their ion sources and etching speed. P-FIB uses Xe ion plasma and etches at higher speed; therefore it can run over larger areas (greater than 100um). P-FIB probe current is 1.3 μA. DB-FIB probe current is 65nA. P-FIB is capable of running over large areas at 20 times faster than DB-FIB.

Argon Ion Beam Cross Section Polisher (CP):

The CP is chiefly used on a specimen with different material hardness, void, or softness… The cross-section plane can be larger than the FIB plane. The specimen size is much smaller than mechanical preparation. The maximum size of the specimen is 11(W) 10mm (D) 2mm (H).