Coupling model of electromigration and experimental verification – Part II: Impact of thermomigration

Zhen Cui, Xuejun Fan*, Yaqian Zhang, Sten Vollebregt, Jiajie Fan, Guoqi Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This paper presented a comprehensive experimental and simulation study for thermomigration (TM) accompanying electromigration (EM) at elevated current densities. Both Blech and standard wafer-level electromigration acceleration test (SWEAT)-like test structures, with aluminum (Al) as a carrier, were used for testing and analysis. In Part I of our study (Cui et al., 2023a), the experimental and numerical results with the current density of 1 MA/cm2 were presented. We observed that Al stripes with a SWEAT structure did not show damage in the entire length, while Blech structures showed void and hillock formations only at the cathode and anode, respectively. The temperature gradient owing to Joule heating was neglected in our previous simulations, and the predicted results agreed well with the experimental observations. However, we have not theoretically verified the effect of the temperature gradient. In this paper, we first reported the new experimental data under the elevated current densities of 3 and 5 MA/cm2. In both Blech and SWEAT structures, the spreading of voids in the middle region of conductors was observed. Moreover, in Blech structures, voiding in the middle region occurred after a period of time when voids/hillocks were formed at the cathode and anode, while the SWEAT structures did not show damage at the two ends. Next, based on the coupled 3D theory (Cui et al., 2023a), new analytical one-dimensional (1D) solutions were derived for the Blech and SWEAT structures in the un-passivated configuration considering TM. We found that TM played a significant role in the EM development in the middle of conductors under the elevated current density. The numerical results were in excellent agreement with the experimental data with the consideration of TM. We further established new EM failure's threshold criteria for the SWEAT structures in the form of the product of current density and square of conductor length. This is a major departure from the original Blech's theory in which only mechanical stress gradient was considered. We also studied the acceleration factor of the current density exponent and presented an insight into failure mechanisms associated with TM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105256
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Acceleration factor
  • Electromigration
  • Joule heating
  • SWEAT structure
  • Temperature gradient
  • Thermomigration
  • Threshold product


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