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Title:
REDUCING NOISE EFFECTS IN ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE CIRCUITS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/133460
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A direct power injection (DPI) circuit (100) reduces noise effects in an electrostatic discharge (ESD) circuit when coupled to the ESD circuit. The DPI circuit (100) includes: an NMOS transistor (MN1) coupled between an output node (104) and a lower rail (GND); and a charge pump (C1, D1, D2) coupled between an input node (102) and a gate of the NMOS transistor (MN1). A resistor (R1) is coupled between the gate of the NMOS transistor (MN1) and the lower rail (GND).

Inventors:
AMEY, Benjamin, Lee (514 Bullingham Lane, Allen, TX, 75002, US)
GONZALEZ DIAZ, Sigfredo, Emanuel (1218 Meadowbend Ct, Allen, TX, 75002, US)
Application Number:
US2018/067001
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 21, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INCORPORATED (P. O. Box 655474, Mail Station 3999Dallas, TX, 75265-5474, US)
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS JAPAN LIMITED (24-1, Nishi-Shinjuku 6-chome, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo, 160-8366, JP)
International Classes:
H01L27/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004040761A12004-05-13
Foreign References:
US20090128970A12009-05-21
US20170092637A12017-03-30
US20160155882A12016-06-02
US20040251917A12004-12-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS, Michael, A. et al. (Texas Instruments Incorporated, P. O. Box 655474 Mail Station 399, Dallas TX, 75265-5474, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A direct power injection (DPI) circuit for reducing noise effects in an electrostatic discharge (ESD) circuit coupled to a protected pin, the DPI circuit comprising:

an output node for coupling to the gate of a complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) power device that is coupled to carry an ESD event on the protected pin to ground when turned ON;

an input node for coupling to the protected pin;

a first N-type metal oxide silicon (NMOS) transistor having a drain coupled to the output node, a source coupled to a lower rail and a gate;

a charge pump circuit coupled between the input node and the gate of the first NMOS transistor; and

a first resistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

2. The DPI circuit of claim 1, wherein the charge pump circuit comprises: a first capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the input node and a second terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor through a first diode; and a second diode coupled between the lower rail and a point between the first capacitor and the first diode.

3. The DPI circuit of claim 1, further comprising a second capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

4. The DPI circuit of claim 1, further comprising:

a second NMOS transistor having a drain coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor, a source coupled to the lower rail and a gate coupled to receive a disable signal.

5. The DPI circuit of claim 4, further comprising:

a regulator coupled to provide a selected voltage on a given node; and

a third diode having a first terminal coupled to the given node and a second terminal coupled to the charge pump.

6. The DPI circuit of claim 5, wherein the regulator comprises a second resistor coupled in series with a fourth diode and a fifth diode between an upper rail and the lower rail.

7. A system on a chip (SOC) comprising:

a driver coupled to provide an output signal on a protected pin;

a complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) power device coupled between the protected pin and a lower rail and having a gate; and

a direct power injection (DPI) circuit comprising:

an output node coupled to the gate of the CMOS power device;

an input node coupled to the protected pin;

a first N-type metal oxide silicon (NMOS) transistor having a drain coupled to the output node, a source coupled to a lower rail and a gate;

a charge pump circuit coupled between the input node and the gate of the first NMOS transistor;

a first resistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail; and

a second NMOS transistor having a drain coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor, a source coupled to the lower rail and a gate coupled to receive a disable signal.

8. The SOC of claim 7, wherein the charge pump circuit comprises: a first capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the input node and a second terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor through a first diode; and a second diode coupled between the lower rail and a point between the first capacitor and the first diode.

9. The SOC of claim 7, wherein the DPI circuit further comprises a second capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

10. The SOC of claim 7, further comprising:

a second resistor coupled in series with a third diode and a fourth diode between an upper rail and the lower rail; and

a fifth diode having a first terminal coupled between the second resistor and the third diode and a second terminal coupled between the first capacitor and the second diode.

11. The SOC of claim 7, further comprising:

a third capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the protected pin and a second terminal coupled to the gate of the CMOS power device; a third resistor coupled between the gate of the CMOS power device and the lower rail; and

a third NMOS transistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the CMOS power device through a sixth diode, source coupled to the lower rail and a gate coupled to the lower rail.

12. A system on a chip (SOC) comprising:

a transceiver driver coupled to provide differential output signals on a first protected pin and a second protected pin;

a first electrostatic discharge (ESD) circuit coupled between the first protected pin and a lower rail;

a second ESD circuit coupled between the second protected pin and the lower rail; and a direct power injection (DPI) circuit comprising:

an output node coupled to the first and second ESD circuits;

an input node coupled to the first protected pin and the second protected pin; a first NMOS transistor having a drain coupled to the output node, a source coupled to a lower rail and a third gate;

a charge pump circuit coupled between the input node and the gate of the first NMOS transistor; and

a first resistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

13. The SOC of claim 12, wherein the charge pump circuit comprises: a first capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the input node and a second terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor through a first diode; and a second diode coupled between the lower rail and a point between the first capacitor and the first diode.

14. The SOC of claim 12, wherein the DPI circuit further comprises a second capacitor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

15. The SOC of claim 12, further comprising:

a second resistor coupled in series with a third diode and a fourth diode between an upper rail and the lower rail; and

a fifth diode having a first terminal coupled between the second resistor and the third diode and a second terminal coupled between the first capacitor and the second diode.

16. The SOC of claim 12, wherein the transceiver driver is for a controller access network.

17. The SOC of claim 12, wherein the transceiver driver is for an engine controller unit.

18. The SOC of claim 12, wherein the transceiver driver is for a local interconnect.

19. The SOC of claim 12, wherein at least one of the first and second ESD circuits comprises:

a first complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) power device and a second CMOS power device coupled in series between an input pad and a lower rail, the gate of each of the first and second CMOS power devices being coupled to the output node of the DPI circuit;

a third resistor coupled between the gate of the second CMOS power device and the input pad; and

a fourth resistor coupled between the gate of the third CMOS power device and the lower rail.

20. The SOC of claim 19, wherein the at least one of the first and second ESD circuits further comprises:

a third capacitor coupled between the gate of the second CMOS power device and a point between the second and third CMOS power devices; and

a fourth capacitor coupled between the gate of the third CMOS power device and a point between the second and third CMOS power devices.

Description:
REDUCING NOISE EFECTS IN ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE CIRCUITS

[0001] This relates generally to circuits, and more particularly to reducing noise effects in electrostatic discharge circuits.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Certain low-side drivers and transceiver pins must be able to tolerate the high levels of noise picked up by the wiring harness that connects multiple transceivers in a large system such as an automobile. The electrostatic discharge (ESD) structures protecting these pins must be activated by certain very high speed voltage transients in order to protect the pins during ESD events. However, repeated smaller transients from noise can have a cumulative effect on these devices, causing partial turn-on and interfering with normal operations.

SUMMARY

[0003] The described direct power injection (DPI) circuit distinguishes between ESD events that are extreme in nature but only occur a few at a time, and noise events that are milder but may be periodic in nature. The design includes a small charge-pump-like circuit that is capacitively coupled to the pin being protected. The circuit is tuned such that the output does not respond to one or more ESD events, but during a periodic stimulus such as noise or DPI testing, the voltage created on the charge pump rises and turns on the gate of an output transistor that is coupled between an output node of the circuit and a lower rail. The output node can be connected to the gate of an ESD power device such that a DPI event turns on the output transistor and pulls down on the gate of the ESD power device. By lowering the impedance to ground on the gate of the ESD power device, the DPI circuit prevents drain-gate coupling of the ESD power device from activating the ESD power device.

[0004] In one aspect, an example of a DPI circuit for reducing noise effects in ESD circuits coupled to a protected pin is described. The circuit includes an output node for coupling to the gate of a complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) power device that is coupled to carry an electrostatic discharge (ESD) event on the protected pin to ground when turned ON; an input node for coupling to the protected pin; a first N-type metal oxide silicon (NMOS) transistor having a drain coupled to the output node, a source coupled to a lower rail and a gate; a charge pump circuit coupled between the input node and the gate of the first NMOS transistor; and a first resistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

[0005] In another aspect, an example of a system on a chip (SOC) is described. The SOC includes a driver coupled to provide an output signal on a protected pin; a complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) power device coupled between the protected pin and a lower rail and having a gate; and a direct power injection (DPI) circuit comprising: an output node coupled to the gate of the CMOS power device; an input node coupled to the protected pin; a first N-type metal oxide silicon (NMOS) transistor having a drain coupled to the output node, a source coupled to a lower rail and a gate; a charge pump circuit coupled between the input node and the gate of the first NMOS transistor; and a first resistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail; and a second NMOS transistor having a drain coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor, a source coupled to the lower rail and a gate coupled to receive a disable signal.

[0006] In yet another aspect, an example of an SOC is described. The SOC includes a transceiver driver coupled to provide differential output signals on a first protected pin and a second protected pin; a first electrostatic discharge (ESD) circuit coupled between the first protected pin and a lower rail; a second ESD circuit coupled between the second protected pin and the lower rail; and a direct power injection (DPI) circuit comprising: an output node coupled to the first and second ESD circuits; an input node coupled to the first protected pin and the second protected pin; a first NMOS transistor having a drain coupled to the output node, a source coupled to a lower rail and a third gate; a charge pump circuit coupled between the input node and the gate of the first NMOS transistor; and a first resistor having a first terminal coupled to the gate of the first NMOS transistor and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 depicts an schematic diagram of an example DPI circuit according to an embodiment.

[0008] FIG. 2 depicts a schematic diagram of an example system containing an ESD power device and a DPI circuit according to an embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 3A depicts signal traces during an ESD simulation with the DPI detection of system 200 disabled. [0010] FIG. 3B depicts signal traces during an ESD simulation with the DPI detection of system 200 enabled.

[0011] FIG. 4A depicts signal traces during a DPI simulation with the DPI detection of system 200 disabled.

[0012] FIG. 4B depicts signal traces during a DPI simulation with the DPI detection of system 200 enabled.

[0013] FIG. 5 depicts a schematic diagram of an ESD circuit to which the described DPI circuit can be coupled.

[0014] FIG. 6 depicts a schematic diagram of a system in which an SOC according to an embodiment is coupled to a bus and noise injection model.

[0015] FIG. 7 depicts signals from system 600 when the ESD protection circuits are disconnected.

[0016] FIGS. 8 A and 8B depict signals from system 600 when the ESD protection circuits are disconnected and DPI stimulus is provided.

[0017] FIGS. 9 A and 9B depict signals from system 600 when the ESD protection circuits are connected but the DPI circuit is disabled and DPI stimulus is provided.

[0018] FIGS. 10A and 10B depict signals from system 600 when the ESD protection circuits are connected but the DPI circuit is disabled and DPI stimulus is provided.

[0019] FIGS. 11A and 11B depict signals from system 600 when the ESD protection circuits and DPI circuit are connected and DPI stimulus is provided.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS

[0020] In the drawings, like references indicate similar elements. In this description, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with an embodiment, such feature, structure, or characteristic may be effected in connection with other embodiments, irrespective of whether explicitly described. Also, in this description, the term "couple" or "couples" means either an indirect or direct electrical connection, unless qualified as in "communicably coupled" which may include wireless connections. Thus, if a first device couples to a second device, that connection may be through a direct electrical connection, or through an indirect electrical connection via other devices and connections.

[0021] FIG. 1 depicts a DPI circuit 100 according to an embodiment. DPI circuit 100 has at least four nodes or pins for coupling to power supplies and other circuits: • input node 102, which can be coupled to a pin, e.g., of a driver, which is to be protected from ESD events,

• an output node shown here as ESD gate 104, which is to be coupled to the gate of an ESD power device,

• an optional upper rail, here VDD, and

• a lower rail, shown as ground (GND).

An N-type metal oxide silicon (NMOS) transistor MN1 is coupled between output node ESD gate 104 and the lower rail, allowing the circuit to pull down the gate of the ESD power device when NMOS transistor MN1 is turned ON. Capacitor Cl has one terminal coupled to input node 102 and a second terminal coupled to the gate of NMOS transistor MN1 through diode Dl. A second diode D2 is coupled between the lower rail and a point between the first capacitor and the first diode. A second capacitor C2 has a terminal coupled between diode Dl and the gate of NMOS transistor MN1 and a second terminal coupled to the lower rail. Although capacitor C2 is shown as a component, capacitor C2 may be either a specific component of the circuit or a parasitic capacitor created by the topology. Finally, a resistor Rl is coupled between the gate of NMOS transistor MN1 and the lower rail.

[0022] The circuit formed by capacitor Cl and diodes Dl and D2 forms a charge pump. It is noted that this specific topology is provided as an example only and can be replaced by any other charge pump topology coupled between input node 102 and the gate of NMOS transistor MN1. When repeated oscillations are provided on input node 102, e.g., from noise on a protected pin, charge can be pulled toward node 106 from the lower rail through diode D2, but can only be pushed to DPI detect node 108, effectively“pumping up” the charge on DPI detect node 108. A charge on DPI detect node 108 will be drained over time to the lower rail through resistor Rl. By setting the values on capacitors Cl, C2 and resistor Rl, DPI circuit 100 can be customized for the needs of different scenarios by setting, e.g., the speed with which a charge is built up on DPI detect node 108 and how quickly the charge is discharged. In one example embodiment, resistor Rl has a value of a few megaohms, capacitor Cl has a value of a few femtofarads, and capacitor C2 has a value of a few picofarads.

[0023] NMOS transistor MN2 is coupled between the gate of NMOS transistor MN1 and the lower rail in order to provide a means of disabling the DPI detection. The systems in which the described circuit operates are generally tested for response to DPI events and NMOS transistor MN2 provides a means for that testing to compare operation with and without DPI protection by ensuring that no charge can build up on DPI detect node 108. Accordingly, the gate of NMOS transistor MN2 receives a disable signal, disable DPIdetect 110. In at least one embodiment, a regulator 112 provides a second power source to DPI circuit 100 in order to pre-charge the gate of NMOS transistor MN1. Regulator 112 includes a resistor R2 coupled in series with two diodes D4, D5 between the upper rail and the lower rail and provides a known voltage on node 114. Node 114 is coupled to node 106 through diode D3. Regulator 112 is optional and can be omitted, in which case DPI circuit 100 is entirely powered from input node 102. Regulator 112 can also be replaced by other regulator topologies coupled to diode D3.

[0024] FIG. 2 depicts a schematic diagram of an example system 200 containing a driver 202 that has a pin 204 to be protected from ESD events, an ESD protection circuit 206 and a DPI circuit 208 according to an embodiment. In one embodiment, system 200 is provided as an SOC. Protected pin 204 can be coupled to one or more additional circuits, which are not specifically shown. Optimal ESD protection occurs when a very fast ramp-up of voltage occurs on protected pin 204, which is then dissipated by turn-on of a power device that quickly drains the charge to the lower rail. In this embodiment, the power device is a CMOS power device SCR1 that is coupled between the protected pin 204 and the lower rail. CMOS power device SCR1 can be any of a silicon controlled rectifier (SCR), an NMOS transistor, and a bipolar transistor.

[0025] The drain and gate of CMOS power device SCR1 are capacitively coupled to each other through capacitor C3, which can be either a specific component in the circuit or can be a parasitic capacitor created by the topology of the circuit. When an ESD event occurs on protected pin 204, the terminal of capacitor C3 that is coupled to protected pin 204 goes high, driving any charge on the opposite terminal of capacitor C3 towards the gate of CMOS power device SCR1 and turning ON CMOS power device SCR1. A circuit 210 is coupled to the gate of CMOS power device SCR1 to allow accumulated charge to drain to the lower rail. Circuit 210 includes a resistor R3 that is coupled between the gate of CMOS power device SCR1 and the lower rail and also includes NMOS transistor MN3, which has a drain coupled to the gate of CMOS power device SCR1 through diode D6 and both a source and gate coupled to the lower rail. Input node 102 of DPI circuit 208 is coupled to the protected pin 204 and receives the same signals as protected pin 204 while ESD gate 104 of DPI circuit 208 is coupled to the gate of CMOS power device SCR1. As will be shown in the following figures, ESD events, even when they occur in series, do not affect the value on ESD gate 104, but events such as noise will cause ESD gate 104 to pull down on the gate of CMOS power device SCR1.

[0026] FIG. 3A depicts signal traces during an ESD simulation on system 200 while the described DPI detection is disabled. Three signals are shown: the signal 302 depicts the voltage on the pin, signal 304 depicts the voltage on the gate of CMOS power device SCR1, and the signal 306 depicts the current through the drain of CMOS power device SCR1, with the Y-axis for voltage shown on the left of the figure and the Y-axis for current shown on the right of the figure. In this simulation, a series of five high-speed pulses in signal 302 are provided to simulate multiple ESD events occurring together or the ringing that can sometimes occur after a single ESD event. Each of the five high-speed pulses peaks at a value near 40 volts and the five peaks occur over a period of about a tenth of a microsecond. During each ESD event, the charge on the gate of SCR1, as reflected in signal 304, also rises to a value of about 8 volts. This turns ON CMOS power device SCR1 and allows the charge to be drained to ground as reflected by signal 306, which rises quickly to a value of about 450 mA, then drops quickly as the voltage decreases. This is a desired response during ESD events, so the activation of DPI circuit 100 should not disrupt this response.

[0027] FIG. 3B depicts signal traces during a ESD simulation on system 200 with the described DPI detection enabled. In this figure, the three signals, i.e., signal 312 depicting voltage on the pin, signal 314 depicting voltage on the gate of the CMOS power device SCR1, and signal 316 depicting current through the drain of the CMOS power device SCR1, are shown separately. It can be seen by comparing the two figures that the signals are essentially unchanged by the activation of DPI circuit 208, which is the desired response.

[0028] The next simulation shown is for direct power injection, which emulates automotive system noise by providing a fast oscillating signal on the protected pin 204. In one embodiment, when noise is present on protected pin 204, driver 202 utilizes the average value on protected pin 204. This means that the signal can oscillate without causing problems, as long as the oscillations center around the original signal value. FIG. 4A depicts two signals during testing when DPI circuit 100 is disabled. Signal 402 depicts the voltage on protected pin 204 and signal 404 depicts the current through CMOS power device SCR1 during testing when DPI detection circuit 100 is disabled. In this figure, signal 402 initially has a voltage of about 14 volts; when the DPI testing begins sending a quickly oscillating signal, voltage 402 briefly peaks at about 19 volts, but as the oscillations continue, signal 402 oscillates between 0 and 4 volts, providing an average value on the pin of about 2 volts. This lowered voltage causes CMOS power device SCR1 to become low impedance, resulting in the current reflected by signal 404, which oscillates between about 140 mA and -120 mA, so that the average value of signal 404 is no longer centered around the transmitted value of zero volts. This current, which results from the capacitive coupling between the drain and gate of CMOS power device SCR1, is the problem addressed by the presently described DPI circuit.

[0029] FIG. 4B depicts the same three signals when DPI circuit 100 is enabled. Signal 412 depicts the voltage on pin 204, signal 414 depicts the voltage on the gate of CMOS power device SCR1, and signal 416 depicts the voltage on the gate of NMOS transistor MN1 of DPI circuit 100, i.e., DPI detect 108, when DPI detection circuit 100 is enabled. As in the previous simulation, signal 412 on the pin 204 moves from an initial voltage of about 14 volts to an oscillating voltage that peaks before settling to oscillate between 0 and 4 volts. As the noise occurs, signal 414 quickly moves to oscillate between about 2.8 volts and -0.5 volts, causing CMOS power device SCR1 to conduct a current. However, while these oscillations are occurring, the voltage on signal 416 (DPI detect) is increasing. After a period of time, which can be determined by the values of capacitors Cl, C2 and resistor Rl, signal 416 exceeds the threshold voltage for NMOS transistor MN1, turning NMOS transistor MN1 ON. When this occurs, the oscillations in signal 414 decrease until the oscillations center around zero and the oscillations on signal 412 increase. In the embodiment shown, NMOS transistor MN1 turns ON after about 15 microseconds, after which the oscillations on signal 414 decrease until they remain between about 0.2 and -0.2 volts.

[0030] FIG. 5 depicts an alternative ESD circuit 500 with which the described DPI circuit 100 can operate. ESD circuit 500 is bi-directional, with noise being introduced at either of pad 502 or PBKG 504. Two CMOS power devices SCR2, SCR3 are coupled in series between pad 502 and PBKG 504. As in the previous example, CMOS power devices SCR2, SCR3 can be any of an SCR, an NMOS transistor, and a bipolar transistor. The gate of CMOS power device SCR2 is coupled to pad 502 through resistor R4, to a point between CMOS power devices SCR2, SCR3 through capacitor C4, and to ESD gate of DPI circuit 100. Similarly, the gate of ESD power device SCR3 is coupled to PBKG 504 through resistor R5, to a point between CMOS power devices SCR2, SCR3 through capacitor C5, and to ESD gate of DPI circuit 100. As in the previous circuits, capacitors C4 and C5 can be either a specific component of the circuit or a parasitic capacitor created by the topology.

[0031] FIG. 6 depicts a system 600 in which an SOC 602 includes a transceiver driver 604, ESD protection circuits 606, 608 and DPI detection circuit 610. SOC 602 is shown coupled to a circuit 612 that represents a combination of a bus 614 for an automotive system and a portion of an industry-standard noise injection model 616. Circuit 612 receives a differential signal on high signal line 622, which is coupled to pin 618 and on low signal line 624, which is coupled to pin 620. Transceiver driver 604 can be the driver for a controller access network (CAN), engine controller unit (ECU), local interconnect (LIN), or any other type of bus system for which the described ESD and DPI protection is desired. Each of ESD protection circuits 606, 608 contains a copy of ESD circuit 500, with a respective pad 502 coupled to a one of pins 618, 620 and a respective PBKG node 504 coupled to a lower rail. In the embodiment shown, ESD protection circuit 606 is coupled to pin 620 and ESD protection circuit 608 is coupled to pin 618. DPI detection circuit 610 is coupled to both pin 618 and pin 620 such that noise on both of these pins is detected by this single circuit; DPI detection circuit 610 then provides output signal ESD gate 626 to both ESD protection circuits 606, 608. In an alternate embodiment, not specifically shown, a separate DPI detection circuit can be provided to monitor each of pin 618 and pin 620. The following figures illustrate the results of various simulations of testing on system 600.

[0032] FIG. 7 depicts three signals taken from system 600 while the ESD protection circuits 606, 608 are disconnected from the bus and without any DPI stimulus. In the top half of the figure, high signal 705 is taken from high signal line 622 and low signal 710 is taken from low signal line 624 as these two signals demonstrate a symmetrical discharge to GND. In the bottom half of the figure, differential signal 715 is the differential value between high signal 705 and low signal 710, which also shows a smooth drop to zero. When the same symmetrical discharge is performed while ESD protection circuits 606, 608 are connected to the bus but no DPI stimulus is provided, the results are essentially the same, i.e., there is no observed impact from the presence of the ESD circuits when no DPI stimulus is present.

[0033] FIGS. 8A and 8B depict signals taken from system 600 with ESD protection circuits 606, 608 disconnected in system 600 while DPI stimulus is applied. FIG. 8A depicts only differential signal 805 as high signal line 622 and low signal line 624 discharge symmetrically to GND, which again drops smoothly during DPI stimulus. In FIG. 8B, a transient voltage is provided on high signal line 622 to provide signal 810 and on low signal line 624 to provide differential signal 815, which track each other very closely. Differential signal 815 remains flat at about 60 mV, demonstrating only small variations between the two signals. Since the data values carried on the bus depend on the difference between the high signal and the low signal, this close tracking in response to DPI stimulus is a desirable result.

[0034] FIGS. 9A and 9B demonstrate the problem to which the described DPI circuit is directed and depict signals taken from system 600 with ESD protection circuits 606, 608 connected but with DPI detection disabled while DPI stimulus is applied. In FIG. 9A, as high signal line 622 and low signal line 624 discharge to GND, differential signal 905 depicts large swings, which is a cause for concern. Then in FIG. 9B, a transient voltage is introduced that varies from zero to less than ten volts, producing low signal 910 and high signal 915. Differential signal 920 shows a variation between the two signals 910, 915 that varies from about 15 to 100 millivolts. As will be seen in the following figures, this amount of variation can cause errors in the detection of signals.

[0035] FIG. 10A depicts a transmitted signal 1005 and the received differential signal 1010 from system 600 when the ESD protection circuits 606, 608 were connected and DPI detection was disabled while DPI stimulus was applied. A portion of the signals enclosed by box 1015 are enlarged and reproduced in FIG. 10B. During a transmitted low value on signal 1005, received differential signal 1010 swings wildly, achieving in one test low values as low as 260.87 mV. During a transmitted high value on signal 1005, the variations in received differential signal 1010 achieve high values as high as 454.80 mV. Clearly these results can greatly interfere with signal interpretation.

[0036] FIG. 11A depicts a transmitted signal 1105 and the received differential signal 1110 on system 600 when the ESD protection circuits 606, 608 are engaged and DPI detection in DPI circuit 610 is enabled while DPI stimulus was applied. Also shown is the DPI detect signal 1115, which will trigger the pull-down of ESD power devices SCR2, SCR3 in each of ESD protection circuits 606, 608 in system 600. On the far left side of the figure transmitted signal 1105 and received differential signal 1110 do not reflect any noise and demonstrate a smooth transition between low and high values. When noise is introduced in system 600, received differential signal 1110 begins to oscillate wildly as in the previous example, and the value of DPI detect signal 1115 begins to rise. Once the voltage on DPI detect signal 1115 rises far enough to turn ON NMOS transistor MN1, the gates of CMOS power devices SCR2, SCR3 in both of ESD protection circuits 606, 608 are pulled toward the lower rail. Box 1120 encloses a section of transmitted signal 1105 and received differential signal 1110 once NMOS transistor MN1 is turned ON; the signals enclosed by box 1120 are enlarged and reproduced in FIG. 11B. During a high value on transmitted signal 1105, the highest values received on received differential signal 1110 was 453.05 mV, a small improvement. During a low value on transmitted signal 1105, the lowest value on received differential signal 1110 was 876.42 mV, a significant improvement that reduces the effect of the noise on the results.

[0037] The described DPI circuit acts like a charge pump and is coupled between a protected pin and the gate of an associated ESD device. The DPI circuit does not interfere with gate turn on of the ESD device during ESD transients, but provides suppression of the capacitive response on the gate of the ESD device during repeated oscillations of the pin, reducing the effect of noise on the bus.

[0038] Modifications are possible in the described embodiments, and other embodiments are possible, within the scope of the claims.