The distribution of static electricity of a polyimide film (left)
The distribution of static electricity of a polyimide film (left)
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The prototyped device for converging sound waves
The prototyped device for converging sound waves
[Click to enlarge image]

The Measurement Solution Research Center (MSRC) of Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) developed a technology that visualizes the distribution of static electricity in real time.

The new technology is expected to drastically speed up the test of electronic parts and printed circuit boards, for which static electricity is a major problem. MSRC plans to deliver a lecture on the details of the technology at the 72th Meeting of the Japan Society of Applied Physics (lecture number: 30a-B-3). And it announced part of the details at a press conference that took place Aug 23, 2011.

This time, MSRC developed a system that consists of a device for converging sound waves of several hertz in an area smaller than 1 x 1cm and a measurement device for minute electric waves. With this system, when an object is hit by sound waves, parts charged with static electricity vibrate.

As a result, those parts become a kind of antennas and generate electromagnetic fields depending on charging energy. MSRC found that it is possible to measure the amount of static electricity and determine whether the charge is positive or negative by measuring the electromagnetic fields with the measurement device.

Phase difference is used to determine whether the charge is positive or negative. This time, MSRC had an experiment by using a charged polyimide film as a measuring object.

For the future, MSRC plans to enable to visualize the distribution of static electricity at high speeds by scanning a measuring object with a device that emits sound waves.

Traditionally, surface potential meters are used for the measurement of the distribution of static electricity. However, because they measure one point at a time, it takes long to measure the distribution. Moreover, they are easily influenced by nearby charged objects, grounding wires, etc, MSRC said.