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Laser Scanning Microscopy for Counterfeit Detection

June 29, 2016.

Dr. Martine Simard-Normandin (


Dr. Martine Simard-Normandin has over 30 years of experience in microelectronics, specializing in semiconductor device physics, reverse engineering and electrical and material characterization. She has authored or co-authored more than 50 scientific journal and conference papers on microanalysis. Dr. Simard-Normandin holds a B.Sc. in physics from the Universite de Montreal, a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto. She was awarded an Industrial Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Physical Society, focusing on microelectronics, and recently the prestigious Medal of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Universite de Montreal.

Dr. Simard-Normandin has held the positions of Manager - Materials and Device Analysis at STMicroelectronic's Centre for Microanalysis and Manager of Materials and Structures Analysis at Nortel Networks. In 2002 she founded MuAnalysis Inc., a privately-owned Canadian company offering expertise in failure analysis, materials analysis and reliability testing.


Laser Scanning Microscopy (LSM) is a digital microscopy technique. The main application of LSM in counterfeit detection uses its ability to see through silicon and other optically opaque semiconductor materials allowing inspection of markings, layout etc. from the back of the semiconductor . To take advantage of this feature a laser of suitable wavelength must be used, usually a laser in the near-infra red spectrum. This is particularly useful in the inspection of flip chip devices.

In confocal mode (CLSM) it allows the collection of images at a series of focal planes, making the 3D reconstruction of the surface possible. Therefore CLSM is a non-contacting profilometry technique. CSLM can be used to compare surface roughness of devices, depth of laser markings, curvature and warping in the micrometer range. This can be particularly useful when known authentic parts are available for comparison purposes.

LSM and CLSM are optical techniques, therefore the achieved spatial resolution depends on the wavelength of the laser used and is generally in the 1 micrometer range. Analysis is done in air, there is no need for vacuum, thus allowing easier analysis of large samples. Since lasers come in different wavelengths, one can customize applications, for example: IR lasers see though most semiconductors. This presentation will explain the technique and present several examples of successful use in the detection of counterfeit electronic devices.

About MuAnalysis

MuAnalysis provides analytical expertise and solutions to the electronics, photonics, life sciences, and manufacturing industries. Our customers benefit from our decades of collective experience in microanalysis and process analysis. MuAnalysis offers expertise in electron microscopy, optical microscopy, materials and failure analysis techniques and reliability testing to its customers. Our specialized equipment and range of scientific skills have enabled MuAnalysis to continue to capture significant global market share.