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Will this circuit protect my MOSFET from ESD?

  1. Feb 5, 2012 #1
    Hey guys and gals. I am curious as to whether this circuit will protect the FET. I am specifically concerned with ceramic capacitor C14. I used the HBM 150pF 330Ohm 25kV with a worst case capacitor bias of 70% (ie: at the ESD voltage, the capacitance will drop to only 30% of it's rated value) to choose the capacitance value. It's an X7R dielectric, btw. The N-MOSFET is this. As you can see, the gate-source junction is protected to 2kV.

    I am just curious if C14 will protect the FET from any ESD on the source's pin. I get that the internal protection diodes of the FET will alleviate an ESD event up to 2kV on the GATE, because it will shunt that current to source (which is connected to ground). But what if there is an ESD event on the source pin? Will the current be shunted to the gate or will it just go up through the body diode and out the drain? Either way, is the FET still protected? And what about positive vs negative ESD events?

    The gate is ultimately connected to some external voltage. The drain is connected to a Schmitt trigger input (rated to 2kV ESD). The source goes off the board and then is either connected directly to ground or to a switch that will connect it to ground when activated. It will be handled by a human installer, which is why I want ESD protection on it.

    Help me out here. I'm not too sure of myself on this one.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2012 #2
    Which is the input? I don't even see why the cap is the protection. Usually the gate is the weakest part and you need transorb to protect it. For whatever reason you need to protect the source, you still need transorb, not just a cap.
  4. Feb 5, 2012 #3
    You can use a cap to lower the voltage spike in an ESD event. http://www.tdk.com/pdf/esdmodel.pdf [Broken]
    Btw, D12 is a TVS diode.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Feb 7, 2012 #4


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    I'll assume the strike occurs on the green net connected to the source and wants to return to ground.

    If this is the case then I supposed technically C14 does offer some protection as a fraction of the current will get shunted away by the cap but there is still the parallel Cgs+D12 path and I think any practical discharge will carry enough energy to do damage to the FET.

    If the net needs to be protected I recommend using another clamp.
  6. Feb 7, 2012 #5
    Yes, the ESD voltage would be on the green net connected to the source.

    Wouldn't the internal ESD diodes (as seen in the datasheet) of the FET provide a path for the current to travel from Source to Gate. As long as the voltage was less than the rated ESD voltage of 2kV, wouldn't it be all good? I'm not trying to argue here, but just to explain my understanding of it.

    I calculate that C14 would keep the voltage to ~1,190V.
  7. Feb 7, 2012 #6


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    Did you provide a FET data sheet or part number? I am not seeing it for some reason.

    I think the duration of the discharge for the HBM is like 0.1uS or something.

    I suspect when you add in the ESL of the cap and consider the slew you'll likely find the 10nF cap is not very useful for sinking the strike. This is why TVS diodes are generally used for ESD protection.
  8. Feb 7, 2012 #7
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