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


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.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Calibration; Electric Current Measurement; Electric Discharges; Electrostatic Discharge; Electrostatic Generators; Electrostatics; Gas Generators; Laser Optics; Metals; Step Response; Air Discharge; Calibration Method; Discharge Waveforms; ESD Gun; ESD Simulators; Nonlinear Effect; Relays; Tolerance Range; Electrostatic Devices; Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Generator Calibration; Metals

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0018-9375; 1558-187X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2018