John McMaster's image collection

All of my images are released under CC BY unless otherwise noted.




Relevant equipment list:

  • pr0nscope: CNC microscope. Typically BF imaging, but also have DF, polarized, DIC
  • k2scope: K2 IND CNC confocal microscope
  • brainscope: laser microscope / probe station. 532 nm, 355 nm Nd:YAG
    • 2016: 355 nm laser is operational but needs calibration
    • Misc micropositioners
  • South Bay Technology 910 lapping machine
    • Basic jigs
  • xy-ray x-ray scanner
  • Small CBCT scanner (ie 3D x-ray)
    • Note: produces a 3D video but I don't have a software workflow to process into a real 3D model

Equipment I'd like

  • SEM and/or FIB
  • Wedge bonder


I got a lot of requests to image stuff, so here's my official policy.

In short, I focus on chips that are of interest to me. I do lots of chips for others, but I give priority to people that are able to provide funds.

In terms of consumables, equipment wear etc, each simple chip costs me about $25 to decap/image (not counting huge equipment NRE). As of 2014, a professional shop charges around $100 for a simple, low resolution top metal dceap/image. People give me upwards of $200 per simple chip if they are feeling generous and want to support other projects. Simple ⇒ not implant ROM and preferably does not require delayering. Not sure what a shop would charge for delayering, but lets say generally 3x the cost of top metal imaging. Chips from the 80's should be simple.

Delayering is typically more risky to the chip and myself (toxic chemicals like hydrofluoric acid). Similar issues with staining and lapping. Lapping is currently extremely labor intensive and not very well refined (although I can get a small area easily).

This is a hobby and I'm not interested in operating as a business. I'd really like to focus on chips that I can (eventually) release on pr0n, ideally under CC licenses.

In general I want to focus on R&D / labwork and not hand digitization. I do have some limited semi-automatic digitization capabilities for planarized chips though that I'd like to develop (ex: works on PS1 chipset).

Most of this is targeted towards small chips up to the mid 90's. If the die is obnoxiously large (ex: 486 CPU) it will be difficult for me to photograph and stitch the entire thing. Similarly I unfortunately do not have EM capabilities to image fine processes. 180 nm is doable on my equipment but really pushing it (ex: XC2C32A).

Other: most of the work is in decapping, not actual imaging. If you happen to already have a bare die and would be satisfied with a quick / lower quality scan, feel free to send me a few dies. This may actually work out well for you since most of the money is in the microscope, not the decapping supplies.

Please provide the following information for each chip:

  • Required: markings on the chip
    • Do not just send me the chip code name and expect me to know which one it corresponds to
    • Ex: specify “344S0061-A” instead of“SWIM”
  • Optional: alternate names
    • Ex: SWIM, Pentium 1 etc
    • These are helpful to add to wiki pages
  • Required: what you want
    • Full images of every layer so you can digitize it?
      • Do you need the whole die or just a part of it?
    • Top metal image for aesthetic purposes?
      • Are you hoping for high resolution that can see every wire or just an overview shot?
    • ROM dump?
      • Suggested method?
      • Image mask ROM only?
    • Erase fuses / laser magic?
  • Optional: datasheet is a plus, especially if I need to do something invasive
  • If applicable: any previous knowledge of things people tried that didn't work
  • Required: replaceability/value
    • Sometimes I can do something more aggressive (faster, sometimes much faster) that might have higher chance of damage
    • If they are readily available you should send me several just in case
      • Especially if you want me to do invasive analysis (ex: delayer)
    • TODO: come up with a scale, but here are some rough figures
      • Very common: < $5 or can easily get for free
        • Ex: XC2C32A
      • Common: can get more if you shell out mild cash
        • Ex: playstation 1 CPU
      • Rare: You can probably get more but it might take a while or cost >$100
        • Ex: playstation 4 CPU
      • Very rare: $1000 or un-replaceable
        • Ex: CSG 4510 R3 (the C65 CPU)
  • Any other relevant information
  • Can you provide any funding for the work?
    • Commercial or personal interest?
      • I'm not opposed to commercial interest so long as the die images remain free here
    • Funded projects are given priority
    • I am willing to do some stuff for free, but it does involve harsh chemicals, costs me money, and time so anything is appreciated
  • Any legal issues associated with the chip?
    • Does release need to get restricted?
      • DRM? Crypto?
    • Ex: a sound chip is no issue
  • Do you have a particular timeline in mind?
    • Between work and other requests don't be surprised if it takes me several months to get to it even if its only an hour of work
    • Coordinate with me for best results
    • I usually have the most time late Dec / early Jan
  • By default I retain copyright and publish work CC BY on sipr0n
    • If you need exclusive copyright, want to be included in CC license, etc make an explicit agreement with me

Still reading and interested? Send me an e-mail: JohnDMcMaster @@@


mcmaster/start.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/08 03:08 by mcmaster
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