Step-Response-Based Calibration Method for ESD Generators in the Air-Discharge Mode

Sen Yang, Aniket Bhandare, Hossein Rezaei, Wei Huang, David J. Pommerenke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current IEC 61000-4-2 (2008) standard does not provide calibration specifications for electrostatic discharge (ESD) generators in the air-discharge mode. This is largely due to the well-known fact of poor repeatability in air-discharge measurements. This complicates identifying an acceptable tolerance range of a reference waveform for air discharge. The variability of the discharge waveforms is caused by variations in the spark length. A novel air-discharge calibration method is proposed, which avoids sparking. The method is based on measuring the step response of an ESD generator in the air-discharge mode using a mercury-wetted relay. Possible nonlinear effects are identified during the contact-mode ESD simulator calibration at higher voltages; thus, in combination, an air-discharge calibration method is provided. This letter explains the method and shows excellent repeatability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1598-1601
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Air discharge
  • electrostatic discharge (ESD) generator calibration
  • ESD gun
  • step response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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