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ESD Protection for Power Electronic ICs and Discrete Devices

Kevin Parmenter
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ESD Protection for Power Electronic ICs and Discrete Devices

Today’s power electronics systems are providing amazing advancements in power density, features and functionality. Industrial, lighting, medical, communications and other critical systems perform sophisticated functions—controlling, monitoring and reporting data. Expected to maintain long and continuous operation, often in harsh environments, these systems are subject to increasingly stringent safety and warranty regulations. Compounding this challenge for electronic design engineers, state-of-the-art systems typically employ modern semiconductors often vulnerable to electrostatic discharge (ESD) and other transient events. This article addresses the design and regulatory challenges that come with protecting the newest generation of power electronics systems against the problem of ESD causing safety issues during manufacturing and product failures down the line. It presents a simple protection approach: replacing standard rectifiers used in the system’s power converter with automotive-qualified, ESD-capable rectifiers.

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