Pre-Processing of integrated circuits for decapsulation

Hey everyone,

hope you’re doing well. I purchased the A350T with the 10W laser module back in the days and started trying to pre-process some IC to prepare them for a decapsulation (which is the process of removing the housing of an IC to see the die). The company I’m working for is using a plasma based process but it takes a long time, so I started trying to pre-process some IC with my 10W laser. The results are pretty good but as we’re thinking about purchasing the Ray with the 40W laser, I’m curious about how the 40W laser module can handle my need.

So, basically, what I wanna ask is if there is anyone here in the community having a 40W laser module for the A35oT or J1 or the Ray and is willing to process some IC that I would provide. I’m ready to reward this with some finalized IC after full decap or something else in return. Preferrably, I’m asking for someone within the European Union but outside EU is good as well.

Hopefully someone can help me. If you have any further questions about my request, please let me know :slight_smile:

Best regards,

Can you talk a bit about the package you were decapping and the settings you were using?

I’m looking at doing something similar, though at the moment I only have 1.6W laser. I’ve previously done some successful work with rosin decapping, which was very slow; order days and somewhat messy. Reducing that processing time would be nice.

Hi, of course I can do.

I was playing around with some Xilinx parts in a LQFP-144 housing having a body thickness of around 3.4cm. To prepare the components, a square shall be “engraved” onto the component.

As I have the A350 with both 1.6W and 10W laser toolhead on my own, I figured out that with the 1.6W head a successful laser ablation would take ages, so that one seems to be only suitable for marking purposes.
The 10W laser toolhead made it to a proper result in terms of laser ablation. As 10W are pretty limited in combination with the laser technology, I applied full power and adjusted both moving speed and cycle count. As the aim was to figure out the processing as a step before plasma based etching, I ended up to a total processing time of around 45min up to 2h per device.

At my workplace, we now have the Ray with 40W toolhead in action and for proper results preparing parts for plasma decap, we use 25% to 50% of power and adjust the duty cycles along with moving speed. Settings that work best are actually: Speed 1800mm/min; 50% power, no half diode mode, 8 cycles at minimum

Another fact I can tell is that there is no 100% laser decapsulation process in place in the market as far as I know. Whoever is asked, the answer is that laser ablation is a support process for a decap which is done either by liquid acids or a plasma etch process (which we actually have in place). I did some tests with a company based in Munich, Germany, which is one of the market leader in industrial laser toolheads and the results are, that the quality of the laser ablation is one of a kind, but the processing is pretty complex. The closer the laser beam is to the die, the less the energy needs to be to not destroy the die thermally nor burning it when the laser beam transfers though a single point in the plastic.

So, if you still try to decap parts at home with the Snapmaker, here are my recommendations based on my experience from the last nine months of intense testing:

  1. Use the 10W laser toolhead at the absolute minimum as the 1.6W laser wouldn’t deal with it in a proper amount of time
  2. Use the enclosure provided for your SM model if not already applied
    2a. Take some effort to improve the sealing of the enclosure to get it 100% sealed or
    2b. exchange the enclosure fan to an industrial model with the highest CFM rate you can find. You will need longer screws as those fans are thicker, and you need an external power supply for that fan as the case controller won’t be able to handle that high amount of power. If you choose that step, make sure to combine the output of the controller with the external power supply for the fan (via Relay etc.).
  3. Use the provided hose to blow the fumes out of your room (via a window)

Burning integrated circuits causes the extraction of fumes which are very smelly and not so healthy. What settings are needed for a 100% laser decap - I can’t tell you, but that’s where the fun part starts.

I hope that helps and whatever you want to know - just ask :slight_smile:

Best regards,