Designers often ask questions about the capability of an operational amplifier to withstand electrical overstress. These questions tend to focus on the device inputs, but can also involve the supply voltage pins. Each of these different pin functions has electrical stress limits determined by the voltage breakdown characteristics of the particular semiconductor fabrication process and specific circuits connected to the pin. Additionally, internal electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection is built into these circuits to protect them from accidental ESD events both before and during product assembly.
Having a good understanding of this basic ESD circuitry and its relevance to an electrical overstress event is helpful. Figure 30 shows the ESD circuits contained in the LM3xxLV. The ESD protection circuitry involves several current-steering diodes connected from the input and output pins and routed back to the internal power supply lines, where they meet at an absorption device internal to the operational amplifier. This protection circuitry is intended to remain inactive during normal circuit operation.