The Past, Present & Future of Physics of Failure

Posted by Craig Hillman on Mar 22, 2016 12:29:32 PM

History_of_PoF.jpgAs electronics continue to become smaller and even more complex, challenges are raised in developing reliability predictions. Smaller and faster circuits cause higher current densities, lower voltage tolerances and higher electric fields, which make the devices more vulnerable to early failure.

As such, Physics of Failure (PoF) reliability testing is the standard within Design for Reliability (DfR) practice. It aligns design, electrical and mechanical engineering functions early on in the project in order to leverage knowledge of the processes and mechanisms that induce failure to predict reliability and improve product design and performance. PoF efficiencies streamline the design process, reduce testing cycles and speed time to market.

But, where did PoF originate? Interestingly, its roots weren’t initially in electronics.

At the start of World War II, the U.S. military discovered that more than half of its stored airborne electronics failed to meet Air Corps and Navy requirements. However, reliability and reliability engineering was in its infancy and testing efforts were concentrated on fatigue and fracture of metals.

It took almost a decade for reliability testing to shift to electronics. In 1950, the U.S. military gathered an ad hoc committee to study electronic equipment, specifically improvement of part reliability through quantitative requirements and the collection of field failure data to determine causal events. Eleven years of data gathered from the ensuing failure fatigue and fracture assessments served as the basis of the 1961 PoF program developed to accommodate the growing complexity of military equipment and related failures.

Today, emerging generations of electronic devices require improved tools for reliability prediction in order to investigate new manifestations of existing failure mechanisms like Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI), Electromigration (EM), Hot Carrier Injection (HCI) and Time Dependent Dielectric Breakdown (TDDB). PoF continues to advance to meet those needs.

Innovative companies like DfR Solutions are shaping the future by identifying and validating PoF algorithms for new technologies. Our Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ software tool sets us apart as the only organization capable of providing a turnkey solution to developing physics-based reliability predictions. Using our skills in fundamental materials behavior, modeling and simulation, DfR Solutions can accurately predict failure behavior of next-generation silicon transistors, wire bonds, solder bumps, die attach, light emitting diodes, electrolytic capacitors, plated through holes and solder joints.

Is there a PoF challenge in your future? Let DfR Solutions put our industry expertise and cutting-edge Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ software tool to work for you. Call us today at 301.474.0607 or fill out our online contact form.

Introduction to Physics of Failure Reliability Methods

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