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The potential of high-power microwave radiation to couple into and generate malfunction in microelectronic systems has become a serious concern; however, the underlying electronic mechanisms are not well understood. We present results of experiments on the response of a typical CMOS integrated circuit to pulsed microwave excitation. Our results show that electrostatic discharge protection devices detect the pulse envelope of the microwave carrier via its nonlinear conductance. The device characteristics are analyzed using device physics to describe the quasi-static and non-quasi-static behavior of the protection circuits and define the regime of operation in terms of excitation frequency. The results of experiments and analysis lead to the development of an improved effects model based on Berkeley Short-channel IGFET Model using a body resistor network. Good agreement between experiments and transient and harmonic-balance simulations is demonstrated. The results show that a deterministic method of evaluating electromagnetic effects using physical, scalable device parameters is feasible.