Electrostatic Discharge Susceptibility of Computer Peripherals

To goal of this project is to more fully understand the ways that electrostatic discharge (ESD) transients couple to and propagate in computer peripherals such as mice and keyboards. Several existing designs are being tested and modeled. The results of this project should allow computer industry manufacturers to design peripherals that are more immune to ESD at a lower cost than present designs.

To facilitate this project, Missouri S&T developed and built a unique 3D ESD Scanning System. This device scans the three dimensional surface of a printed circuit board while performing an indirect electrostatic discharge test. At each test point, discharges are stepped up in magnitude until an error is observed. At this point the board resets and the the scan continues.

With this system, it is possible to map the relative ESD susceptibility as a function of position on a board. This makes it possible to pinpoint specific problem areas. A couple of sample plots are shown below.