Semiconductor Protection

Objectives

  • Discuss Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
  • Describe and employ methods to prevent damage from ESD
  • Explain metal oxide varistors (MOVs) and their application

Electrostatic Discharge

Semiconductors are powerful devices used in every aspect of modern life, but as it turns out they are also surprisingly fragile.

The greatest threat to semiconductors (outside of fire) is electrostatic discharge.

Fire: bad

Electrostatic discharge (ESD), more commonly referred to as static electricity, is the transfer of energy between two bodies at different electrostatic potentials, either through contact or via a spark.

Normal day-to-day activities can cause people to build up static electricity. This static buildup can accidentally be transferred to semiconductor devices housed in equipment such as PLC's and ECM's.

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When an ESD event occurs, the result is usually permanent damage to the electronic device.
In the case of many pieces of equipment results in hundreds, or thousands of dollars of damage!

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