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


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.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Laboratory

Keywords and Phrases

Display devices; Electric discharges; Electric fields; Electric lines; Electrostatic discharge; Electrostatics; Errors; Low power electronics; Magnetic fields; Mobile devices; Printed circuit boards; Printed circuits; Radiation hardening; User interfaces; Electric and magnetic fields; Electronic product; Field injection; High-speed low-power; Integrated circuits (ICs); Measurement methodology; Portable device; Transient fields; Electrostatic devices; Database; integrated circuits soft error

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2016 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2016