NXP aims to develop electronic circuits that can improve our everyday energy efficiency, connectivity, and security. One of the challenges the company is facing is Electrostatic discharge (ESD) as it damages integrated circuits (IC's). Devices for ESD protection should drain charge in a very short time (~10 ns), to prevent high voltages to build up over the sensitive IC's. Additionally, these devices should have low capacitances to prevent high frequency signals to leak to ground. These requirements make it challenging to produce protective devices for high frequency IC's. In this report, we present the results of a brainstorm session on this problem which was organized for the 'Physics with Industry' workshop. We found three types of devices which could possibly be used to protect high frequency IC's, namely field emission devices, spark gaps devices, and electrostatic switches. With the help of strongly simplified models we have approximated the performance of these devices.

Photonic Materials

Ebert, U., Frenken, J. W. M., van der Graaf, H., Hermosa, N., Hofmann, S., Kroesen, G., … Wunnicke, O. (2010). Protecting high frequency IC's from electrostatic discharge. In Proceedings physics with industry : first workshop Lorentz Center Leiden, the Netherlands, 11-15 October 2010 (pp. 15–30).