Who doesn’t like integrated circuit porn? After pulling a PCD8544 display controller from an old Nokia phone, [whitequark] disrobed it and took the first public die shot.
As we’ve seen in the past, removing a die from its packaging can be a challenge. It typically involves nasty things like boiling acid. Like many display controllers, the PCD8544 isn’t fully encapsulated in a package. Instead, it is epoxied to a glass substrate.
Removing the glass proved to be difficult. [whitequark] tried a hot plate, a hot air gun, sulphuric acid, and sodium hydroxide with no success. Then the heat was turned up using MAPP gas, which burned the epoxy away.
After some cleaning with isopropanol, the die was ready for its photoshoot. This was done using a standard 30 mm macro lens. Photo processing was done in darktable, an open source photography tool and RAW processor.
[whitequark] plans to take closer photos in the future using more powerful magnification. These high resolution die photos can be useful for a number of things, including finding fake chips and reverse engineering retro hardware.