Though they may look like the real thing, counterfeit electronic parts will not perform reliably and, if undetected, could cause catastrophic failure at a critical moment in commercial, medical or military applications. Counterfeiters are getting better, and many of the current non-destructive techniques – visual inspection, mechanical robustness, X-Ray, XRF, C-SAM, Infrared Thermography, electrical characterization, decapsulation and marking evaluations – may not be able to identify real components from fakes. The infiltration of counterfeit parts into electronics design is a growing concern as demand increases for reducing production costs.
Unless you have been lucky enough to be on vacation in the Sahara Desert for the last 15 years, you have probably heard or been affected by counterfeit electronic parts (and, if you’ve been in the desert that long, you probably have other things to be worried about). However, with all the headlines, presentations, courses, articles, and case studies, the basics of counterfeiting can be become slightly opaque.