Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor 1

Christopher Middlebrook

Committee Member 1

Glen Archer

Committee Member 2

Michael Roggemann


Increased Printed Circuit Board (PCB) route complexity and density combined with the growing demand for low-scale rapid prototyping has increased the desire for Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) that reduces prototyping time and production costs by detecting defects early in the production process. Traditional defect detection method of human visual inspection is not only error prone but is also time-consuming given the growing complex and dense circuitry of modern-day electronics. Electric contact-based testing, either in the form of a bed of nails testing fixture or a flying probe system, is costly for low-rate rapid prototyping. An AOI is a non-contact test method using an image processing algorithm that quickly detects and reports failures within the PCB layer based on the captured image. A low-cost AOI system has been created using commercial off-the-shelf components specifically for low-rate production prototyping testing allowing testing of varying layers or various electronic designs without additional setup cost. Once the AOI system is physically configured, the image processing defect detection algorithm compares the test image with a defect-free reference image or by a set of pre-defined rules generated through Electronic Design and Analysis software. Detected defects are then classified into two main categories: fatal and potential. Fatal defects lead to the board's rejection, while potential defects alert the operator to determine if the board should be rejected or will still satisfy pre-defined prototyping criteria. The specifications of an imaging system, camera sensor, imaging lens, and illumination set-up used in the creation of the AOI were designed considering a test PCB article already in production. The algorithm utilized is based on a non-reference defect detection method utilizing mathematical morphology-based image processing techniques to detect defects in the PCB under test.