Analysis of active-clamp response to power-on ESD: Power supply integrity and performance tradeoffs

Robert Mertens, Nicholas Thomson, Yang Xiu, Elyse Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An active rail clamp circuit provides protection against component-level ESD; this work explores the challenges associated with designing a rail clamp to additionally provide protection when the IC is powered on. The fast transient response required to protect against ESD makes it difficult to design a stable circuit and introduces tradeoffs between supply integrity and the clamping characteristic. This work presents an analysis of how these performance metrics are affected by device sizes. Interactions between a rail clamp circuit, which may be an active or passive clamp, and the parasitic elements of the package and board are examined; it is shown that these interactions may briefly power down the supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7177068
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Device and Materials Reliability
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015



  • Circuit stability
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Electrostatic discharge
  • Immunity testing
  • Integrated circuit reliability
  • System-level ESD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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