Electric field mapping inside metallized film capacitors

Dennis Achton Nielsen, Vladimir Popok, Kjeld Pedersen

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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    Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is an important step in the reliability assessment process of electric components. It provides knowledge of the physics of failure of a component that has been subjected to a given stress profile. This knowledge enables improvement of the component robustness and durability and serves as verification that failure- and degradation mechanisms remain the same at different stress levels during accelerated testing.
    In this work we have used Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) to analyze metallized film capacitors with the purpose of determining the degradation mechanism(s) they suffered from accelerated testing. We have prepared film capacitors for analysis by micro-sectioning and verified the quality of the preparation procedure using optical and atomic force microscopy.
    The potential distribution in the layer structure (alternating 7 µm thick dielectric and 50-100 nm thick metal) of a new capacitor was used as reference. KPFM measurements on the degraded capacitors showed a change in contact potential difference from -0.61V on the reference capacitor to 3.2V on the degraded ones, indicating that corrosion of the metallization had happened. Studies also showed that some of the metallization stripes had lost contact to the end-spray.
    Thus, it is shown that the surface electric potential distributions on micro-sectioned film capacitors can be obtained through KPFM analysis. We have, from KPFM measurements, shown that the degraded capacitors under investigation had suffered from metallization corrosion and some degree of end-spray detachment. The results obtained in this work, along with results from the literature, demonstrate the usefulness of KPFM as a tool for FMEA.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication61st Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS), 26-29 Jan. 2015, Palm Harbor
    Number of pages6
    Publication date2015
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4799-6702-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event2015 Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) - Palm Harbor, FL, USA , United States
    Duration: 26 Jan 201529 Jan 2015


    Conference2015 Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS)
    CountryUnited States
    CityPalm Harbor, FL, USA


    • Kelvin probe force microscopy
    • failure mode and effect analysis
    • film capacitors
    • micro-sectioning


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