An ESD zap of around 6kV will be perceived by most as painful. Damage to an IC in this way results in impaired specifications or an increased degradation over time. The quality of the IC could be impaired such that although the chip works, it does not exhibit the quality that it had when it was tested in the fab and can degrade with use.
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The insidious issue with ESD is that once it occurs, there are no visible signs that the chip was exposed to overvoltage. Thus, it is imperative that manufacturers, distributors, and PCB makers take protection seriously as well as the hobbyist who receives a chip in the mail and solders it into his or her project design themselves. Unpowered ICs are still vulnerable to extreme overvoltage applied to supply voltage pins. All pins provide an open path for the effects of overvoltage caused by ESD, however.
Internal circuits on an IC are typically protected by integrated components such as diodes within the IC, so ICs are not completely unprotected in general; your mileage may vary.
However, if an ESD zaps the IC with a greater potential than the drop across the diode can block, for instance, current will flow through the circuit in the chip as the ESD-induced voltage potential seeks a path to a lower potential point in the circuit. The input circuit could end up experiencing a powered state, as well as anything else that touches the supply voltage rail inside the IC that the input circuit is connected to. Figure 1: Additional protection of a circuit from ESD with external discrete components, at left. Rules of thumb Always strap yourself in with a wrist band and handle chips carefully.
System Level ESD Protection
You cannot live life strapped to a wrist band, however, so other precautions can be taken. A low humidity environment winter is more prone to build-up of ESD charges, as is a carpeted environment for those handling ICs. Your workshop should be vinyl or other hard flooring. Use a humidifier if you live in a cold environment, since voltages can increase by ten times in cold weather in indoor environments i. Undetected location. NO YES. Selected type: E-Book.
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A2Z Development Center, Inc. Experience in system-level ESD design for consumer electronic devices. Design and analysis of ESD protection for consumer products. In this role, you will:. Related forums: Sunnyvale, California. Our wireless SOC organization is responsible for all aspects of wireless…. Get email updates on this search Turn on.
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