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QX3 Digital Image Gallery

Chip Shots

Molecular Expressions photomicrographers have extended their investigation of the surface of computer chips from high-end reflected light microscopes to the Intel Play QX3, which has produced remarkably good images of these samples. We invite you to compare the images in this gallery with those in our larger Chip Shots gallery done with a Nikon Microphot FX/L in reflected differential interference contrast illumination.

AMD 486-DX2 - AMD marketed this doubled clock speed Intel clone in the early 1990s. We opened the ceramic package to photograph the chip.

AT&T Cache Chip - This old cache chip was removed from an early 1980s Hewlett-Packard UNIX workstation.

IBM 16 Megabit RAM Wafer - The long-range periodicity of RAM integrated circuits renders them especially beautiful in reflected light microscopy.

IBM 486 SLC Microprocessor - IBM marketed this knock-off 486 chip during the late 1980s and produced a number of personal computers using the microprocessor and running the Windows 3.1 operating system.

IBM/Motorola PowerPC 750 (G3) Microprocessor - The collaboration between IBM and Motorola has resulted in one of the fastest and most efficient microprocessors yet developed.

Intel 486 DX2 Microprocessor - The 486 microprocessor and its derivatives were the workhorses in personal computing during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Compare and contrast these images with the IMB models presented in other sections of the QX3 Chip Shots gallery.

Intel Pentium III Microprocessor - Examine the beautiful ball-grid array pattern present on the surface of these high-end microprocessors from Intel. At high magnifications, the collapsible solder connectors comprising the array appear to resemble pinballs.

Motorola Math Coprocessor - We gutted a dead Mac to get at the microprocessor and coprocessor.

NCR RAM Chip - A miniature rendition of the famous Wright Brothers original airplane was discovered on an NCR memory chip.

PowerPC 620 - Although never introduced, this 64-bit PowerPC chip was designed to be the flagship of the collection.

R4300 - MIPS is a pioneer in RISC technology and chip design for video games and embedded applications. This chip is used in Sega video games.

Texas Instruments Coprocessor - Colored gels combined with reflected light illumination produce a beautiful spectrum of colors on this miniature integrated circuit.

Miscellaneous Chip Shots - Using a combination of oblique lighting and colored gels, we have captured a series of images for the QX3 microscope Chip Shots collection.

  • Bonding Wires - These miniature wires are attached both to the chip die and the package that connects the integrated circuit to the rest of the computer.

  • Pieces and Stems, Part 1 - This section features photomicrographs of a contact, wires bonded to bonding pads, and aluminum interconnects.

  • Pieces and Stems, Part 2 - We have the letter "D", more bonding wires, and a complete chip, also illustrating the attached bonding wires.

  • Pieces and Stems, Part 3 - This collection illustrates bonding wires, and integrated circuits composing an early 1980s-era keyboard chip set.

  • Pieces and Stems, Part 4 - Another collection of beautiful bonding wire photomicrographs taken with the Intel Play QX3 microscope.


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The QX3 microscope design is copyrighted © 1999 by Mattel, Inc. Intel® Play™ is a registered trademark of the Intel Corporation. These companies reserve all of their rights and privileges under copyright law. The material contained in this website is solely the opinion of the authors and is intended for eduational use only.
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