I have to start somewhere with something !

For my first article I wanted something different, instead of introducing myself I preferred to show you my last tool investment. Tool ? Don’t worry this isn’t an article about screwdriver ! Let me introduce to you the Metallurgical microscope from AmScope, named ME320TWB-PZ-2L-10M, it’s a 40x~2000x metallurgical microscope with a 10 megapixel camera and a couple of filters (one of them is polarizing light).

My AmScope ME320TWB-PZ-2L-10M

For what ?
For DIE inscpection ! I have a couple of anonymized ICs, impossible to know whats inside ! I bought a set of nitric acid and acetone and start a chemical decapsulation, with a cheap USB 200x “microscope” I tried to find a DIE marking or something who can help me to identify the original IC. But with cheap tool come also cheap result.

So I decided to invest in a metallurgical microscope, I was first looking on used Nikon, olympus, zeiss, etc. Too expensive even with broken/missing lens… After reading feedbacks from AmScope devices I decided to bought one on Ebay, was also expensive but I was impressed with the overall quality, the quality of the camera, the software (delivered with SDK !), of course lens aren’t ZEISS or Olympus, corner are darker than the center and with highest magnification I noticed rounded corner (picture is no longer flat) but for my application and my budget I’m totally satisfied with.

Here is a combined set of pictures taken with my metallurgical microscope, you can see an overall view of the DIE:

Closer look on mask ROM bit:

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