A document discusses an innovation designed to effectively monitor dielectric charging in spacecraft components to measure the potential for discharge in order to prevent damage from internal electrostatic discharge (IESD). High-energy electrons penetrate the structural materials and shielding of a spacecraft and then stop inside dielectrics and keep accumulating. Those deposited charges generate an electric field. If the electric field becomes higher than the breakdown threshold (≈2 × 105 V/cm), discharge occurs.
This monitor measures potentials as a function of dielectric depth. Differentiation of potential with respect to the depth yields electric field. Direct measurement of the depth profile of the potential in a dielectric makes real-time electronic field evaluation possible without simulations.
The IESDM has been designed to emulate a multi-layer circuit board, to insert very thin metallic layers between the dielectric layers. The conductors serve as diagnostic monitoring locations to measure the deposited electron-charge and the charge dynamics. Measurement of the time-dependent potential of the metal layers provides information on the amount of charge deposited in the dielectrics and the movement of that charge with time (dynamics).
This work was done by Wousik Kim, Dan M. Goebel, Insoo Jun, and Henry B. Garrett of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-47347
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Internal Electrostatic Discharge Monitor — IESDM (reference NPO-47347) is currently available for download from the TSP library.
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