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X-Ray Tomography



OBJECTIVE: Improve aspects of X-ray Tomography (XRT) as an extremely accurate, non-destructive solution to obsolete and unobtainable printed wiring boards and facilitate generation of Technical Data Packages for the US Air Force. 

DESCRIPTION: A CT scan, also known as computed tomography scan, makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual "slices") of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting. Traditional reverse engineering is based on a destructive process of serial sectioning followed by imaging, which is time-consuming, expensive, and error-prone. Using a computer assisted XRT offers the opportunity to reverse engineer circuit boards, and other electronics while limiting the destruction of limited USAF assets. This topic is seeking innovative automation of the current technology available to the US Air Force to support reverse engineering and repair of assets. Factors that need to be considered when choosing the approach such as number of board layers, types of vias, part accessibility, part criticality, XRT methods, XRT technology options and many others. An XRT framework should integrate understanding and modeling of: 1 - the different manufacturing technologies used to manufacture PWBs; 2 - the materials, processing, and defect types in electronic components; 3 - the development, progression and criticality of damage in PWBs and electronic parts; 4- the interaction between the different damage types and the interrogation method used to monitor part for integrity (such as ultrasonic, electromagnetic, thermal, visual, etc.); 5 - as well as the reliability of the approach itself. 

PHASE I: Develop an XRT Framework that incorporates a specific XRT process for printed circuit boards. This framework should include at minimum part identification, material types, defect types, as well as an inspection, monitoring or other methodology to guarantee quality of the board throughout its operational life. 

PHASE II: The Phase I XRT Framework will be optimized and expanded to incorporate those characteristics that were not previously developed (such as advanced part identification, further failure detection and analysis, and further optimization). 

PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the company will be expected to support the Air Force in transitioning the technology for use. Working with the Air Force, the company will integrate the technology for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. 


1: Asadizanjani, Navid & Tehranipoor, Mark & Forte, Domenic. (2017). PCB Reverse Engineering Using Nondestructive X-ray Tomography and Advanced Image Processing. IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology. PP. 1-8. 10.1109/TCPMT.2016.2642824.

2: Asadizanjani, Navid. (2014). 3D Imaging and Investigation of Failure and Deformation in Thermal Barrier Coatings Using Computed X-ray Tomography.

KEYWORDS: Electronics Manufacturing, Reverse Engineering, X-ray Tomography 


Matthew Dykes 

(478) 926-0670 

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