App note: Damage from a lightning bolt or a spark—It depends on how tall you are!

app_note

Here’s an application note from Maxim describing how to protect printed circuit boards (PCBs) against ESD destruction:

Large steel buildings, automobiles, mountains, even people survive real atmospheric lightning. Humans can also create their own miniature lightning bolts (sparks) and survive. When those sparks reach an IC, however, major trouble results. In this tutorial, we will discuss ways to protect printed circuit boards (PCBs) against ESD destruction. We will show that analog parts with bigger geometries are the best to use to protect a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) with their small geometries. By taking these measures, the ICs in an FPGA remain more reliable and deliver consistent quality performance.

A similar version of this article appeared in the July 27, 2012 issue of Power Electronics Technology magazine

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