Methodology for Analyzing ESD-Induced Soft Failure using Full-Wave Simulation and Measurement


An analysis methodology is presented to investigate soft failures in electronic devices. This methodology combines transmission line pulse (TLP) full-wave simulations with system-level and TLP measurements. Information on susceptible parts in the device under test (DUT) and/or soft failure sensitivity of the integrated circuits (ICs) are obtained from the measurements. Then, the TLP current spreading within the printed circuit board (PCB) of the DUT is simulated. The susceptible signals can be determined by comparing the simulated voltages and/or currents at the signal terminations with the measured threshold values. If the simulated voltages and/or currents are higher than the threshold values, the signal is considered susceptible and a soft failure may occur in the DUT. Using the obtained information from simulations and measurements, the root causes of soft failures can be identified. Further, by utilizing full-wave simulations, the design of the product can be modified to reduce the electrostatic discharge (ESD) noise on the susceptible signals, and consequently prevent soft failures. The proposed analysis methodology is applied to a tablet which suffers from soft failure. The root cause of the soft failure is identified, and countermeasures are designed against the ESD-induced soft failure.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Design for Testability; Electric Discharges; Electromagnetic Pulse; Electronic Equipment; Electrostatic Devices; Electrostatic Discharge (ESD); Electrostatics; Integrated Circuits; Product Design; Signal Interference; Thermoelectric Equipment; Electromagnetic Analysis; Electronic Device; Full-wave Simulations; Integrated Circuits (ICs); Printed Circuit Boards (PCB); Simulations and Measurements; Soft Failure; Transmission Line Pulse; Printed Circuit Boards; Electromagnetic Interference

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0018-9375; 1558-187X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2019