A Transient Event Sensor for Efficient System-Level ESD Testing


Testing and debugging of immunity issues is challenging in part because it is not known which components inside a system are impacted by an immunity test or at what level. Attaching cables and probes to determine stress voltages and currents within a system is time consuming and can alter the test results. Sensors are proposed for measuring the peak stress voltage experienced within a system during a transient immunity test. The peak current can also be found when the sensor is placed across a transient voltage suppressor with a known I-V curve. The peak level is transmitted wirelessly to a receiver outside the system using frequency-modulated magnetic or electric fields, thus allowing multiple measurements to be made without opening the enclosure or otherwise modifying the system. Two sensing circuits are proposed: one that stores the peak voltage on an external capacitor and the other that uses an analog-to-digital converter to store the level in a register. The capabilities of the circuits were validated with a combination of SPICE and electromagnetic simulations when the sensor was placed inside a typical cell phone enclosure. Simulations demonstrate that the sensors can accurately detect the peak transient voltage and transmit the level to an external receiver.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Laboratory


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants IIP-1440110.

Keywords and Phrases

Analog to digital conversion; Electric discharges; Electromagnetic simulation; Electrostatic devices; Enclosures; Mobile phones; Power quality; Program debugging; Sensors; SPICE; Testing; Analog to digital converters; Electro-Static Discharge (ESD); Fast transients; Frequency modulated; Multiple measurements; Testing and debugging; Transient voltage; Transient voltage suppressors; Transients; Electrically fast transient (EFT); Electrostatic discharge (ESD); Suppressor (TVS)

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 Oct 2018