Zeptobars is creating decapsulated microchip photos
37

patrons

$98
per creation
Why we post microchip photos?
Other than just being interesting and sometimes beautiful there are more practical repercussions:

1) Next generation engineers might get more interested in physical implementation of integrated circuits, not limiting themselves at high-level digital design/HDL.
2) Some microchips eventually gets reverse engineered down to schematics which has tremendous educational and historical value. Most notable cases are KR580VM80A (Soviet i8080) and several analog chips reverse engineered by Ken Shirriff. There is also large work going on on PS1 and BK0010.
3) Sometimes we spot fake/non-genuine/remarked chips. Most notable ones were FTDI FT232RL and Nordic NRF24L01+, OPA627.
4) Here and there we might stumble upon unusual implementation which could benefit future IC designs or trigger some interest in embedded developers (like discovery of shadow 128Kb SRAM in GD32 microcontrollers).

Why we need your help? Will new content be "restricted" to supporters only?
Our Motto is "We love microchips - That's why we boil them in acid." - we love what we do regardless on whether we get paid, and results are kept open source under permissive "CC BY 3.0" license to benefit as many as possible. I guess you've also noticed that we do not run any advertisements on our blog - they generate way more suffering for the readers than money.

Absence of external funding meant that our budget was somewhat tight. Main microscope was Chinese one with most parts being replaced to used Olympus ones over time. We managed to improve image quality quite a bit: compare one of our first shots 3 years ago and 1 year ago. But the limits of what we can reach with our own resources are already visible and every next step is much more expensive than any previous ones. This is where you can help us move forward if you find our work interesting.

We are not going to make a living out of the blog. Any funding from this Patreon campaign will go exclusively to equipment upgrades and to get more interesting chips for decapsulation - all to get higher-quality content to our readers, as always, open source.

Tiers
Pledge $1 or more per creation
19 patrons
Gain access to my Patreon posts to know what's I am working on way before it is published. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com.
Pledge $2.50 or more per creation
10 patrons
Send us the chip that you personally interested in and we'll process it and publish the die photo. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com with a link.
Pledge $5 or more per creation
0 patrons
We will send you a signed A4-size print of the die photo of your choose from our blog. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com with a link.
Pledge $10 or more per creation
1 patron
We'll send you one of the actual dies (something like 555/LM358 e.t.c) which was featured in our blog + signed A4-size print of it. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com with a link.
Pledge $25 or more per creation
1 patron
You will get A4 aluminum picture frame having 1 original die of your choose (LM358, 431, 555 or 74HC595) glued to a A4 print of the enlarged photograph of the same die. Signed on the back. We'll place your logo with a link in our supporters section at zeptobars.com.
Pledge $50 or more per creation
0 patrons
You will get A4 aluminum picture frame having 4 original dies (LM358, 431, 555 and 74HC595) glued to a A4 print of the enlarged photographs of the same 4 dies. Signed on the back. We'll place your logo with a link in our supporters section at zeptobars.com.
Goals
$98 of $100 per creation
All easy quality tricks are already done so further improvements require more demanding hardware changes - like a camera with 1" sensor or larger, rebuild of the microscope illuminator, more advanced lenses - apochromatic, medium magnification with oil/water immersion, NA=1.45 high magnification lens for ultimate optical resolution.
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Why we post microchip photos?
Other than just being interesting and sometimes beautiful there are more practical repercussions:

1) Next generation engineers might get more interested in physical implementation of integrated circuits, not limiting themselves at high-level digital design/HDL.
2) Some microchips eventually gets reverse engineered down to schematics which has tremendous educational and historical value. Most notable cases are KR580VM80A (Soviet i8080) and several analog chips reverse engineered by Ken Shirriff. There is also large work going on on PS1 and BK0010.
3) Sometimes we spot fake/non-genuine/remarked chips. Most notable ones were FTDI FT232RL and Nordic NRF24L01+, OPA627.
4) Here and there we might stumble upon unusual implementation which could benefit future IC designs or trigger some interest in embedded developers (like discovery of shadow 128Kb SRAM in GD32 microcontrollers).

Why we need your help? Will new content be "restricted" to supporters only?
Our Motto is "We love microchips - That's why we boil them in acid." - we love what we do regardless on whether we get paid, and results are kept open source under permissive "CC BY 3.0" license to benefit as many as possible. I guess you've also noticed that we do not run any advertisements on our blog - they generate way more suffering for the readers than money.

Absence of external funding meant that our budget was somewhat tight. Main microscope was Chinese one with most parts being replaced to used Olympus ones over time. We managed to improve image quality quite a bit: compare one of our first shots 3 years ago and 1 year ago. But the limits of what we can reach with our own resources are already visible and every next step is much more expensive than any previous ones. This is where you can help us move forward if you find our work interesting.

We are not going to make a living out of the blog. Any funding from this Patreon campaign will go exclusively to equipment upgrades and to get more interesting chips for decapsulation - all to get higher-quality content to our readers, as always, open source.

Recent posts by Zeptobars

Tiers
Pledge $1 or more per creation
19 patrons
Gain access to my Patreon posts to know what's I am working on way before it is published. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com.
Pledge $2.50 or more per creation
10 patrons
Send us the chip that you personally interested in and we'll process it and publish the die photo. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com with a link.
Pledge $5 or more per creation
0 patrons
We will send you a signed A4-size print of the die photo of your choose from our blog. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com with a link.
Pledge $10 or more per creation
1 patron
We'll send you one of the actual dies (something like 555/LM358 e.t.c) which was featured in our blog + signed A4-size print of it. Get included in a list of supporters on zeptobars.com with a link.
Pledge $25 or more per creation
1 patron
You will get A4 aluminum picture frame having 1 original die of your choose (LM358, 431, 555 or 74HC595) glued to a A4 print of the enlarged photograph of the same die. Signed on the back. We'll place your logo with a link in our supporters section at zeptobars.com.
Pledge $50 or more per creation
0 patrons
You will get A4 aluminum picture frame having 4 original dies (LM358, 431, 555 and 74HC595) glued to a A4 print of the enlarged photographs of the same 4 dies. Signed on the back. We'll place your logo with a link in our supporters section at zeptobars.com.