Counterfeit capacitors in the supply chain

  • Anshul Shrivastava
  • Michael Pecht


Counterfeit electronic components have become a significant concern in the electronic parts supply chain. Original equipment manufacturers in particular are concerned about counterfeit components as there have been several recent reports of counterfeit parts entering the supply chain of the US military. This paper presents a case study of multilayer ceramic capacitors for use in a printed circuit assembly in an electronic system on a military aircraft. The capacitors failed during a high temperature screening test. Upon failure analysis it was revealed that the capacitors were not made to the correct specifications and were suspected to be counterfeit and not the authentic military grade capacitors manufactured by Kemet. Further investigation revealed that the suspect multilayered ceramic capacitors had entered into the electronics parts supply chain and were sold as authentic Kemet capacitors that met the higher military-specified requirements. The manufacturing and distribution of the counterfeit capacitors were traced to locations where, according to Kemet, its authentic capacitors are neither manufactured nor distributed.


Supply Chain Failure Analysis Barium Titanate Original Equipment Manufacturer Insulation Resistance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Mr. Neubeck, author of Practical Reliability Analysis, for his help in this study.


  1. 1.
    B. Sood, D. Das, M. Pecht, Screening for counterfeit electronic parts. J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Electron. 22(10), 1511–1522 (2011)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    K. Chatterjee, D. Das, and M. Pecht, “Solving the counterfeit electronics problem,” Proceedings of Pan Pacific Microelectronics Symposium (SMTA), pp. 294–300, Hawaii, Jan 30–Feb 1, 2007Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. Pecht, S. Tiku, Bogus: electronic manufacturing and consumers confront a rising tide of counterfeit electronics. IEEE Spectr. 43(5), 37–46 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    D. Cassata, “Fake weapons parts ticking time bomb”, 8 November 2011, WTOP, Accessed on May 15 2012
  5. 5.
    CBS News, “Fake electronics becoming military danger”, Nov 8, 2011, Accessed on May 21 2012
  6. 6.
    Jaco Display Solutions, Accessed on May 27 2012
  7. 7.
    WPG Americas, Inc., Accessed on May 27 2012
  8. 8.
    R. Munikoti, P. Dhar “Low-voltage failures in multilayer ceramic capacitors: a new accelerated stress screen,” Electronics Components Conference, Proceedings of the 38th, vol., no., pp. 355–361, 9–11 May 1988Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    K. Sato, Y. Ogata, K. Ohno, and H. Ikeo, “Mechanism of ceramic capacitor leakage failures due to low dc stress,” Reliability Physics Symposium, pp. 205–212, April 1980Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    T. F. Brennan, “Ceramic capacitor insulation resistance failures accelerated by low voltage, IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices,” vol.26, no.1, pp. 102–108, Jan 1979Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    M. Keimasi, M. H. Azarian and M. G. Pecht, “Flex Cracking of Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors Assembled With Lead Free and Tin–Lead Solders,” Device and Materials Reliability, IEEE Transactions on, vol.8, no.1, pp.182–192, March 2008 Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    D. N. Donahoe, “Moisture in multilayer ceramic capacitors,” PhD Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, 2005Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    S. J. Krumbein, “Metallic electromigration phenomena, “IEEE transactions on components, hybrids, and manufacturing technology,” vol.11, no.1, pp.5–15, Mar 1988Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    S. Yang, J. Wu and A. Christou, “initial stage of silver electrochemical migration degradation,” Proceedings of the 17th European Symposium on Reliability of Electron Devices, Failure Physics and Analysis. Wuppertal, Germany 3rd–6th October 2006Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    M. Kohara, Y. Mashiko, K. Nakazaki and M. Nunoshita, “Mechanism of electro-migration in ceramic package induced by chip-coating polyimide,” Electronic Components and Technology Conference, 40th, vol. no., pp. 894–899 vol.2, 20–23 May 1990Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CALCE: Center for Advanced Life Cycle EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations