The plastic encapsulation used for integrated circuits is engineered to provide exceptional protection to the fragile silicon die, bond wires and lead frame. It is these protective properties that make the die at the centre of an IC so difficult to inspect, an essential step in any counterfeit part mitigation inspection.
It is only with the precise application of super-concentrated, boiling acid that internal elements of the part can be safely exposed for evaluation. The TSOT-23 device in the picture is 3mm wide and only 1mm deep, yet it was successfully opened for inspection, keeping all six gold bond wires attached to the 1.2mm2 die. The presence of the manufacturer’s logo and the device part number on the die confirmed this part as genuine.