Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) costs the electronics industry millions of dollars each year in
damaged components, non-functional circuit boards and scrambled or missing information. ESD
can occur in the manufacturing, shipping, receiving, and field handling of integrated circuits or ...
computer boards with no visible signs of damage. A malfunction in these components or boards
can occur immediately or the apparatus may perform for weeks, months, or even years before an
unpredictable and premature breakdown causes a field failure.
Why Should I Care About Electrostatic Discharge?
When you incorporate electronic components or boards into your products, ESD damage can have
a direct impact on your company’s reputation and profits. That is because electrostatic damage
directly affects the quality and reliability of your products. However, for a small investment in
time, manpower, and equipment, you can virtually eliminate ESD-caused problems. The tangible
benefits to you include:
• Higher manufacturing yields
• Less rework and inventory
• Reduced overall costs
• Fewer field failures and warranty calls
• Increased product reliability
• More repeat business resulting in greater profits
Intel’s Commitment to Eliminate ESD Damage
Intel manufactures and uses electronic components, and has implemented a comprehensive ESD
prevention program to ensure that its products are delivered to customers with the highest possible
reliability. Our experts would like to share with our suppliers and customers what they have
learned about ESD control. Using this information, you can implement similar preventive practices
in your factories and warehouses. As a result, component failures can be minimized.
What is ESD?
ESD is the transfer of electrical charge between two bodies at different potentials, either through
direct contact or through an induced electrical field. It is the phenomenon that gives you a mild
shock when you walk across a carpeted floor and then touch a doorknob. While this discharge
gives a harmless shock to humans, it is lethal to sensitive electronics. For example, the simple act
of walking across a vinyl floor can generate up to 12,000 V of static electricity. That is many times
the charge needed to ruin a standard Shottky TTL component.
Several technical failure mechanisms associated with ESD cause damage to microelectronic
devices, including gate oxide breakdown, junction spiking, and latch-up.
• Gate oxide failure is a breakdown of the dielectric between the transistor gate and channel
resulting in excessive leakage or a functional failure.
• Junction spiking failure is a migration of the metallization through the source/drain junction of
MOS transistors causing leakage or a functional failure.
• Latch-up failure can be triggered by ESD, causing an internal feedback mechanism that gives
rise to temporary or permanent loss of circuit function.
Common Causes of ESD
Electrostatic generation arising from friction between two materials is called triboelectric charging.
It occurs when two materials are separated or rubbed together. Examples include:
• Opening a common plastic bag.
• Removing adhesive tape from a roll or container.
• Walking across a
Read the full ESD/EOS.