Remcom announces the ability to simulate electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing in the latest release of XFdtd® 3D EM Simulation Software, enabling engineers to identify potential locations of dielectric breakdown and components at risk of damage in their device designs. For less obvious damage this pre-prototype insight is especially valuable, as it enables optimized ESD mitigation during the concept and design stage, ultimately reducing development costs and preventing post-sale product failures.

While catastrophic damage is easily recognized and located during quality assurance trials, latent and upset events can be much more difficult or even impossible to diagnose due to the lack of visible physical evidence of the failure and where it occurred.  Weakened devices may later behave unpredictably or stop working altogether with continued use. XFdtd’s collection of ESD simulation features minimizes the chance of undetected damage and reveals areas of concern prior to hardware testing.

In particular, a new dielectric strength material property allows users to input the maximum electric field a material can withstand before losing its insulating properties.  Users may then add a dielectric breakdown sensor to monitor a selected area for electric fields that exceed the specified maximum during transient simulations.  In addition to pinpointing these compromised areas, XFdtd also monitors specific electronic components that are taxed beyond their rated voltage and current input parameters during ESD testing.  Post simulation results identify those components that are subject to permanent damage due to unsafe limits.

Greg Moss, XFdtd research manager at Remcom, said, “ESD requires the testing of many hardware prototypes and can contribute to a high number of warranty claims and lost revenue.  The new ESD simulation functionality has a direct positive impact on manufacturers’ profitability by decreasing their time to market, improving the reliability of their products, and strengthening consumer confidence.”