Gideon Analytical Laboratories received a failed Microsemi DZ771215A 10 watt diode for failure analysis. Two working devices were provided for comparison. A diode is an electric device that has two electrodes (anode and cathode) and that only allows current to flow in one direction, resisting current in the other direction. Diodes are used copiously as rectifiers, which convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) to change the amplitude of the signal in proportion to its voltage in the circuit. A semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material with a p–n junction connected to two electrical terminals. The Microsemi DZ771215A semiconductor is made with silicon, has a 6.8-volt maximum regulator voltage rating, and is in a hermetically sealed case. The goal was to identify the cause of the failure.
Failure analysis was conducted. First, the diode was tested with a curve tracer, which revealed a dead short. The diode was opened. The silicon die was partially melted on the corner and side. It had been exposed to excessive current, which melted the silicon. Overall the die side dicing had no manufacturing anomalies. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the production and manufacturing process. Excessive current for too long a time period caused this die to fail.
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