Measurement Methodology for Field-Coupled Soft Errors Induced by Electrostatic Discharge

Zhen Li, Pratik Maheshwari, David J. Pommerenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-speed low-power mobile devices are sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD)-induced soft errors, such as unwanted reset, lock up, loss of user interface, disturbed displays, etc. ESD can couple via current and fields into the internal cabling, printed circuit board traces but also directly into the integrated circuits (ICs). Many portable devices shield nearly all traces using top and bottom layer ground planes, and they apply effective filters at cable entry points such that direct field coupling to the IC can dominate the system's ESD sensitivity. However, a little information is available on the robustness of ICs against direct ESD transient field coupling. A methodology for determining this robustness was developed and applied to a set of consumer electronic ICs to create an initial robustness database. Custom-made electric and magnetic field probes are driven by a 400-ps rise time transmission line pulser to evaluate 37 different ICs. The investigation showed that 50% of the ICs were disturbed at approximately 33 kV/m for the electric field injection and 142 A/m for the magnetic field injection at this rise time. This methodology can serve as the basis for further investigations of ICs. The database can be used to estimate the likelihood of field-coupled ESD-induced soft errors in electronic products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7433414
Pages (from-to)701-708
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Database
  • electrical static discharge
  • fieldinjection probes
  • integrated circuits soft error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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