Q: What is “ESD”?
A: ESD is short Electrostatic Discharge.
Electrostatic Discharge, or ESD, is a single-event, rapid transfer of electrostatic charge between two objects, usually resulting when two objects at different potentials come into direct contact with each other. ESD can also occur when a high electrostatic field develops between two objects in close proximity. ESD is one of the major causes of device failures in the semiconductor industry.
Electrostatic charge build-up occurs as a result of an imbalance of electrons on the surface of a material. Such a charge build-up develops an electric field that has measurable effects on other objects at a distance. The process of electron transfer as a result of two objects coming into contact with each other and then separating is known as ‘triboelectric charging’.
This charging process results in one object gaining electrons on its surface, and therefore becoming negatively charged, and another object losing electrons from its surface, and therefore becoming positively charged. A person can get triboelectrically charged in a number of ways, even by just walking across a room.
Every Thursday, Transforming Technologies will answer questions concerning all things ESD: static causes, threats, ESD prevention, best practices and all things static in a feature we call ESD Q&A. If you have ESD questions that you would like to be answered, email firstname.lastname@example.org with Q&A in the subject line.