Time Domain Simulation of Electrostatic Discharge Testing

An electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of current between two electrically charged objects caused by the breakdown of the dielectric(s) separating them (i.e., dielectric breakdown).  In the case of electronic devices, the resulting current flow and possible spark can permanently damage the device.

ESD requires the development and testing of many hardware prototypes in the design and manufacturing stages and contributes to a high number of warranty claims and loss of consumer confidence.  Given the high cost in time and materials associated with ESD hardware testing and the difficulty of locating latent and upset failures, the ability to simulate the ESD testing process to pinpoint locations susceptible to ESD damage and optimize ESD mitigation during the concept and design stage of product development would be extremely valuable. 

This article from the July 2019 issue of Microwave Journal introduces ESD simulation features in Remcom’s full wave electromagnetic simulation software package, XFdtd®.  While simulation cannot and should not entirely replace hardware testing, these computational features provide ESD engineers with more insight into probable locations of ESD failure and will allow ESD mitigation designs to be optimized prior to the hardware prototyping stage.  Remcom believes this will reduce product development costs and time to market, while improving product reliability and consumer confidence. 

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