Real-Time High-Resolution X-Ray Inspection Services

Alternate Names:

2D X-ray, X-ray microscope, MIL-STD-883, Method 2012


X-ray inspection is a non-destructive technique that provides detailed information about the internal structure of a component without taking it apart.  The tool at Spirit is “real-time” meaning that it provides images instantly without film and provides the result as a digital image.  In addition, the tool has the ability to move the sample and rotate it to inspect at a variety of angles and perspectives during a single inspection.

How it works

X-rays penetrate most components easily but are attenuated by the density of the materials.  This results in shadow on the detector clearly showing the outlines of all internal features of the sample.  The x-ray source type and detector determine the ultimate resolution of the image.

Sample types

Printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) and related components (connectors, cables, ICs, BGAs, resistors, capacitors, etc) can be inspected at Spirit.  Size limitations are 18x 18 inches and weight up to 5 pounds.  Sample preparation is normally not required for x-ray inspection.  In some situations, the case or other hardware is removed to improve visibility of the desired component(s).

Image output

Images can be provided as TIF, JPG or similar and are most frequently included in a formal report.  Image processing is also available on this system for improved contrast and detail.


Non-destructive techniques are critical for inspection on product that is planned for shipping as well as suspect parts where the failure mode must not be impacted.  X-ray is helpful in identifying the many defects including the following examples:

  • Solder defects
  • Wire bond defects
  • PCB inner layer cracks, shorts and alignment


X-ray is a good choice for most electronic materials.  It is not a good choice for very thin or low density materials such as organic contaminants.  For thin materials or where adhesion information is desired; Acoustic Microscopy is a good complimentary technique.