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Understanding electrostatic discharge

Posted: 25 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ESD? integrated circuits? Static charge? gate oxide? metallisation?

There is a growing interest in the effects of ESD on the performance of semiconductor integrated circuits (ICs) because of the impact ESD has on production yields and product quality. ESD problems are increasing in the electronics industry because of the trends towards higher speed and smaller device sizes. ESD is a major consideration in the design and manufacture of ICs.

Static charge is an unbalanced electrical charge at rest. Typically, it is created by insulator surfaces rubbing together or pulling apart. One surface gains electrons, while the other surface loses electrons. This results in an unbalanced electrical condition known as static charge. When a static charge moves from one surface to another, it becomes ESD. ESD is a miniature lightning bolt of charge that moves between two surfaces that have different potentials. It can occur only when the voltage differential between the two surfaces is sufficiently high to break down the dielectric strength of the medium separating the two surfaces. When a static charge moves, it becomes a current that damages or destroys gate oxide, metallisation, and junctions. ESD can occur in any one of four different ways: a charged body can touch an IC, a charged IC can touch a grounded surface, a charged machine can touch an IC, or an electrostatic field can induce a voltage across a dielectric sufficient to break it down.

View the PDF document for more information.

Originally published by Texas Instruments Inc. at as "Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)".

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