Nonlinear capacitors for ESD protection

Hongyu Li, Victor Khilkevich, Tianqi Li, David Pommerenke, Wesley Hackenberger, Seongtae Kwon

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticlepeer-review


In order to protect electronic products from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) damage, multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCC) are often used to bypass the transient ESD energy. Most dielectric materials used in MLCC are nonlinear, since the dielectric constant decreases with increasing voltage, reducing the capacitance value, thus degrading the ESD protection effect. Using a large initial capacitance value will ensure sufficient ESD protection; however, the shunt capacitors also limit the signal bandwidth of the ESD-protected data channel, thus setting a maximal capacitance value at data voltage levels. This paper investigates the nonlinearity of capacitors and suggests improved tradeoff between ESD protection and data bandwidth by using the Antiferroelectric (AFE) capacitors as ESD protection. The dielectric constant of AFE material increases with increasing voltage. The voltage dependence of X7R and AFE capacitors are measured using static and nanosecond transient measurements. The ESD protection effectiveness with different material capacitors are compared by simulation. Due to very limited availability of suitable AFE material samples only hand-made capacitors have tested without investigating the long term stability of the material.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Specialist publicationIEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Magazine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • AFE material
  • ESD protection
  • Nonlinear capacitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Instrumentation
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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