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IEEE's 2012 "The Art of Failure Analysis"

"The Art of Failure Analysis" 2012, People on the Beach - RF CafeFor the last few years, IEEE's International Symposium on the Physical and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits has held an "Art of Failure Analysis" photo contest. Familiar shapes and patterns occur regularly in nature at the macro level that can be seen and recognized by almost anyone; e.g., the Nautilus spiral, the Fibonacci series in plant life, and fractal structures. It takes a high power optical microscope or even a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to see those familiar sights in the realm of the very small. Sometimes, though, the images are downright bazaar and look eerily familiar. The first-place winner from the 2012 "Art of Failure Analysis" is a good example. Titled, "People on the Beach," this SEM image by Infineon's Lim Saw Sing. It is an exposed polyimide surface that was etched by reactive ions. Is that cool or what?

"The Hope Terrace" is another familiar sight. It looks just like a formation of tiered cliffs with wind-blown snow or sand upon them. "Silver Leaves" appears to be an infrared type image of a Mr. Bill Bendable Doll - RF Cafecluster of plants. We have seen a lot plant-like SEM images. "Big Nose" reminds me of Mr. Bill yelling "Oh, nooo...." while pleading for mercy from Sluggo. "Lunar Eclipse" looks more to me like an annular solar eclipse, but I suppose artistic license permits the photographer to name it anything he wants.

Here are the winners for 2011, 2010, 2009, and the first one in 2008.

The following thumbnail images are from the IEEE website. Click on image for larger version.

"People on the Beach" IEEE Photo - RF Cafe
People on the Beach
Lim Saw Sing
"The Hope Terrace" IEEE Photo - RF Cafe
The Hope Terrace
Tan Lee Koon
"Silver Leaves" IEEE Photo - RF Cafe
Silver Leaves
Amy Ng & Angelina Lau
"Big Nose" IEEE Image - RF Cafe
Big Nose
Wu Xing & Pey Kin Leong
"Fist of Victory" IEEE Photo - RF Cafe
Fist of Victory
Khoo Bing Sheng
"Lunar Eclipse" IEEE Image - RF Cafe
Lunar Eclipse
Joel B. Hosmillo

Posted 8/14/2012

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