Ionization and Ions

Ionization is probably the most misunderstood and under used technology for controlling ESD. There are some cases where ionization would be primary method of controlling ESD in an ESD Protected Area and there are others where it would not even be necessary. The need for ionization largely depends on what and how ESD susceptible devices are being handled.

In a lasted issue InCompliance, the late Niels Jonassen’s “Mr Static” column discusses the nature of Ions, their behavior, and how ionization works. He notes:

If the charged insulator is exposed to an atmosphere containing ions of polarity opposite that of the charge, the field will attract ions, which will move toward the body and neutralize the charge. At least that’s what appears to happen.

But a more strict formulation would be that the original (excess) charge is still there, and so is its field. The oppositely charged ions, attracted from the air, will deposit around the original charge, but not annihilate it. The resulting field, the sum of the fields from the opposite charges, will be zero, or at least very close to zero.

The use of air ionization for abating static electric effects is a slow method, compared to methods like the grounding of conductors or surface treatment with topical antistats. But it should be stressed that when we are talking about charged insulators, exposure to ionized air is the only method to remove the effects of the charge.

Read the rest of Niels Jonassen’s “Ions” article HERE

The primary function of ionization in an ESD Protected Area is to neutralize electrostatic charges on insulators and isolated (non-grounded) conductors to reduce the magnitude of electrostatic discharges in the ESD protected area.

  • Compressed air ionizers use compressed air to combat electrostatic attraction neutralizing charges on particles causing contamination or visual defects on products.
  • Benchtop and Overhead Ionizers produce positively and negatively charged ions that are moved to the work area with fan driven airflow.
  • Laminar Flow Ionization Bars are used with Laminar Flow Hoods, controlled chambers and other contained applications.
  • Room Ionization reduces electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrostatic attraction (ESA) in cleanroom environments.

Our sales reps are outfitted with ionizers to demonstrate how ionization can benefit your ESD Control Plan. If you are interested in a demo and/or more information on a Desco product please contact us HERE.

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