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I am looking for information on the efficacy of using field emission techniques to discharge low voltage static in microbalances. One method used in the past was to use a Polonium source to produce ionized air. I was wondering if anyone knows, or has heard of, using something like (say) carbon nanotube field emitters (very pointy needles) to do similar.

The discharge would be driven by the low voltage static buildup (tens of volts)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure how short a wavelength UV you need for photo emission, but you can get 'deep UV' LEDs these days. It's what Gravity Probe B used to keep its spheres uncharged. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil_UK Jan 3 '17 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Neil_UK I had looked at that, and believed I needed vacuum UV with wavelength below 200nm. AFAIK there is no small, cheap commercially available part. \$\endgroup\$ – Dirk Bruere Jan 3 '17 at 13:22
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Many commercially available static eliminators use an array of ionizing needles fed by two current-limited high voltage power supplies of opposite polarity. * Half of the needles are positive and the other half are negative.

Google "static bar" or "static eliminator".*

This company has been in the business for years. http://products.exair.com/static_eliminators

Edit: These may or may not be suitable for protecting ESD-sensitive electronic components

Edit 2: *A single needle can also be used, fed with AC.

Carbon yarn is readily available, and its many ~.8 micron fibers generally work well as ion emitters.

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