Basics: Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

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ESD is an acronym for Electrostatic Discharge. You may remember scuffing your feet on the carpet and then zapping your unsuspecting sibling. That was an electrostatic discharge, which is the sudden (and unwanted) flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects, basically a mini bolt of lightning. Even small amounts of ESD can damage or disable sensitive electronics. An electronic part that is sensitive to ESD is called Electrostatic Discharge Sensitive (ESDS). These sensitivities are sometimes listed in datasheets and can be as low as 20 V.