Multilayer Ceramic Capacitor (MLCC) Authenticity Verification Service Profile

One of the most difficult component categories to verify authenticity are passive discrete devices. These types of devices, which include capacitors, resistors, inductors, and transformers, do not contain a die. Most testing protocols include X-ray and decapsulation to verify die markings traceable to the manufacturer and even part number and the size and orientation of the die. But these devices don’t have a die. With no die, what do you do?Parametric performance is not protected by intellectual property rights – people generally don’t “make” fake capacitors. What is most commonly done is a cross (product with similar mechanical and electrical properties) from a lower cost manufacturer is substituted for the requested device, and the labeling is changed. And provided the capacitance is within the specified range, most of these devices would pass a basic test profile. The reliability of these parts, however, are not proven and are more likely to fail, let along that they are counterfeit as soon as they are re-labeled.External Visual Inspection (EVI) can reveal little provided the dimensions (which are standard) are within manufacturer specifications. Electrical testing has a higher probability of identifying substandard parts, particularly if the testing is not limited to a single parameter at ambient temperature. That tells you if the part meets specifications, not that it is authentic.So how to verify authenticity? Through extensive independent experimentation and analysis, White Horse Laboratories is developing new test and inspection protocols for passive devices to answer just that question. This paper presents a solution specific for Multilayer Chip Capacitors (MLCC).Different manufacturers have different process controls, and generally the Tier 1 manufacturers of the tightest material and process controls (which are protected intellectual property, and closely guarded proprietary technology), which helps to differentiate the performance, consistency and reliability of their products. WHL has developed a profile to not only measure a devices’ performance to the specification, but the consistency of the manufacturing and how that equates to the stability of the device. This profile goes far beyond EVI and testing basic capacitance and into how the device is constructed. The capacitance is what makes it a capacitor, the manufacturing is what makes a specific MLCC unique.

What is a Capacitor?


A capacitor is an electrical device that stores energy in the electrical field between a pair of closely spaced plates (electrodes). Capacitors store energy, filter signals, and differentiate between high and low frequency signals. An MLCC is a Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitor, with many layered electrode pairings. Other types of capacitors include electrolytic and tantalum, which will be covered under separate unique test profiles. This profile is specific to MLCC.


Capacitance & cross section

The illustration above shows the construction of a typical MLCC. Note the layering of electrode plates (seen in a cross section of two different devices in the above right images), the dielectric material which makes up the majority of the package body, the vertical space between the electrodes is the dielectric thickness, the horizontal area where the electrodes overlap is the active area, and the base termination with plating for solderability.


MLCC Typical Parameters

Testing equipment & data

  • Capacitance (C): The amount of energy that is stored, measured in farads.
  • Dissipation Factor (DF): The percentage of energy wasted as heat in capacitor.
  • Equivalent Serious Resistance (ESR): Another measure of energy dissipated as heat in a capacitor and is directly proportional to DF.
  • Impedance (Z): The measure of the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied.
  • Insulation Resistance: The DC resistance of the capacitor and is related to the leakage current, measured in Ohms.
  • Dielectric Withstanding Voltage (Dielectric Strength): The maximum voltage a capacitor can sustain, above its standard operating voltage, with no damage. Devices are generally raised to this voltage for 5 minutes and devices are examined with high power microscopy for damage, such as cracks.
  • Temperature Characteristics: The changes in parametric performance at different temperatures, and the ability of the device to stay within parametric specific range at maximum and minimum operating temperatures.
  • Quality factor (Q): A calculated measurement and is fundamental losses of energy in a resonant system.


White Horse Labs’ MLCC Profile

WHL testing profile

  • Packaging & Documentation Inspection
  • External Visual Inspection (EVI)
  • XRF Material Analysis to verify the elements in the dielectric materials, the terminations, and the plating.
  • Parametric electrical testing at ambient and min/max operating temperature range and compared to the characteristics curve.
  • Cross-section measure the active area, dielectric area, number of electrodes, and consistency of the layering.
  • Statistical analysis of test data. While alternative manufacturers may be able to meet the specifications within a range, the consistency of the measured data to a point is much tighter in Tier 1 manufacturers. Test data is statistically analyzed for the consistency that differentiates products and manufacturers.


Packaged Price of only USD775. Save over 35%!!

  • Lead-time is just 2-3 days for all processes
  • Sampling plan is 122pcs for EVI, Material Analysis is 3pcs, Electrical Testing* is 122pcs at ambient and 13pcs at min/max temperature range, cross section is 3pcs.
  • Profile** and Pricing applies to Multilayer Chip Capacitors only.


* Refers to manufacturer-specified parameters for each part number.

** Golden sample (known good and authentic device) may be required for dielectric material, dielectric thickness, active area, and number of electrodes. Please consult your Account Manager or Customer Service agent for details.




Click below link to Download this MLCC Service Profile:


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White Horse Laboratories




 WHL Testing Images

Dimension Verification

Dimension Verification

 XRF Material Analysis

XRF analysis

 Temperature Range  testing

Temperature testing

 Testing Capacitance &  DF

Test Capacitance and DF

 Testing Insulation  Resistance

Test Resistance



  WHL Test Engineer    (Discrete and Linear    Products)

Rayne Yang


  • WHL over 6 years
  • Hunan City University– Electrical Engineering
  • Experience before joined WHL:Commercial Electronics OEM (Board Assembly) – Component Engineer



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