Opening an IC

Thread Starter

Voltboy

Joined Jan 10, 2007
197
Hey guys.
I was reading the other day on what are inside IC's.
So basically I know there is a semiconductor die inside.
I scrapped an old alarm about a week ago and have some IC's that I don't need and I want to open them and see the inside by myself, do anyone know how to open it up?
It's a 42-DIP.

Thanks
 

eeboy

Joined Sep 27, 2007
90
I've read articles on people reverse engineering IC's by several methods. The method they use to uncap the IC involved all kinds of caustic chemicals. It was a nasty process for sure.

Google it... I am sure the answer is still out there.
 

Distort10n

Joined Dec 25, 2006
429
I do not know what the chemicals are used to decapsulate the IC, but it is done every day. Semiconductor companies often do this for mechanical inspection, probe, and test (failure analysis).
I believe lasers can be used as well to decap the package.
 

thingmaker3

Joined May 16, 2005
5,084
Maybe... I'd try a hole along the same plane as the legs enter. Perhaps a few holes along that same plane would create a nice stress raiser for a crack to propagate from.
 

mrmeval

Joined Jun 30, 2006
833
I have some cold war era VLSI chips that are encased in metal cans. You file off one end and can open them like sardine cans. ;-) They have solid gold connections to the dies.

If you want to view a chips internals get a UV erasable eprom. It has a window.

The simplest way to open one is a sheet of sand paper and and nice flat table. Rub the top against the sand paper and check often. It does take forever. I have done it on a grinder but it's trickier.
 

studiot

Joined Nov 9, 2007
4,998
If you are going to open any semiconductor package in a home workshop take precautions against breathing the dust generated. Try to collect the dust and dispose of it and the dead chip safely so they are not left lying around.
 

beenthere

Joined Apr 20, 2004
15,819
Back in undergrad days,I did a course on invertebrate paleontology. We thin sectioned fusilinids (sic?) by using aluminum oxide grit in water on a glass plate. The fusilinid was fixed with balsam gum to a workpiece. 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper might work very well.

Somewhat the same method could be used to get down to the die in an ic. Don't expect to get it to work after this.
 

bloguetronica

Joined Apr 27, 2007
1,372
Hey guys.
I was reading the other day on what are inside IC's.
So basically I know there is a semiconductor die inside.
I scrapped an old alarm about a week ago and have some IC's that I don't need and I want to open them and see the inside by myself, do anyone know how to open it up?
It's a 42-DIP.

Thanks
I use a method that preserves the die intact. It consists on burning the chip enclosure until it is almost ash. It takes some time, but it will be done when the IC is red hot and doesn't release fumes anymore.

I used this method with a small PIC microcontroler and it worked. The die wasn't even chipped. You can see the structures with naked eye.

An advice: do it outside, because the smell is unbarable.
 

HarveyH42

Joined Jul 22, 2007
426
I've had several chips pop open with a torch while salvaging parts of large PCBs. I usually remove ICs that I want to keep with an iron, so wasn't too concerned about damage. The die is very small, but pretty cool under a microscope.
 

HarveyH42

Joined Jul 22, 2007
426
EPROMs are fairly common salvage, old computers, printers, cable boxes, satelite, some VCR... The window is normally covered with a label or something similar. The window isn't for watching, it's for exposing to UV light to erase it.
 

doggiedoc

Joined Dec 16, 2004
62
Yoda -

I've probably got some salvaged EPROMS laying around here. I'll take a look and if so I can drop one in the mail to you.

Doc
 
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