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Preionized Spark Gap

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000087144D
Original Publication Date: 1976-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-03
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Beilstein, KE: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Described is a means to speed up the turn-on time of module spark gaps so that they will turn on as fast as the on-chip protective devices without slowing down the circuit-response time.

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Preionized Spark Gap

Described is a means to speed up the turn-on time of module spark gaps so that they will turn on as fast as the on-chip protective devices without slowing down the circuit-response time.

Since spark gaps have no leakage and can withstand large electrostatic discharge without burning out, they are attractive for use as protective devices (PDs) against electrostatic discharge (ESD). However, because of their high breakdown voltage, higher than 300V, they must be used in conjunction with conventional PDs fabricated on the semiconductor chip along with the rest of the metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) devices. See, for example, IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, "Module Spark Gap", Vol. 18, No. 7, December 1975, by DeBar, et al., p.2220-2221. The on-chip conventional PDs turn-on in a few nanoseconds and clamp the overvoltage before the spark gap has had time to respond to the original magnitude of the over-voltage. The problem is then the mismatch between the response time of the on-chip conventional PD and the spark gap. One approach to overcome this time mismatch is by the introduction of resistance between the spark gap and the on-chip PD. This resistor along with stray capacitance on the chip provide an RC time delay which slows down the response time of the on-chip PD to match the turn-on time of the spark gap. Unfortunately, such an RC time constant also slows down the response time of the circuit and limits its use.

When examining the mechan...