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ESD (electrostatic discharge) Detector

One of the biggest challenges to an EMC product engineer is determining when and where an electrostatic discharge (ESD) event occurs within a device. Doing so is particularly challenging in highly compact mobile devices, where it is almost impossible to add measurement sensors within the device, and any added sensor can change the ESD performance. Furthermore, such solutions do not allow for detection of events in the field, after manufacture, which could be very useful for estimating product lifespan and for initiating countermeasures in software when an ESD event occurs.

We have developed on die ESD detectors for determining when an ESD event occurs, for determining the pin (or pad) at which the event has occurred, and for determining the level of the event. Special care has been taken to make these detectors relatively small and reliable, allowing them to be placed even in low cost parts like commodity microcontrollers. These detectors could be used during product testing phases, to help determine how badly an ESD event is impacting ICs within the design, to help debug problems by determining which IC and/or which pin is impacted by an ESD event, and to help determine the effectiveness of hardware fixes by allowing the engineer to measure the size of the event at the pin before and after the countermeasure is enacted. These detectors could also be used in the field to determine when an ESD event occurred and how large was the ESD event. Once detected, the system could initiate a reaction to the event for example, by initiating a fault recovery software routine, or by predicting product lifespan and recommending maintenance.

Additional Details

Owner

Missouri S&T

Intellectual Property Protection

Pending Patent



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