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posted on 16.08.2019, 13:56 by Yuvraj SinghYuvraj Singh

Electromigration in thin films is a well known failure mode for scaled microelectronics. While our understanding of electromigration physics has improved immensely in the last few decades, there are still some gaps in literature. In particular, the influence of interfaces on the mass transport rate is not well understood. Through reliability studies conducted on passivated metals films, marked improvement in electromigration lifetimes was observed. Specifically, some choices of materials for passivation appear to perform better than others. Qualitatively this improvement in electromigration performance is attributed to surface adhesion. However, a theoretical connection is largely missing in the literature. Lane et al. through in-situ electromigration experiments and separate interfacial debond experiments on sandwich specimens showed that a correlation exists between the void growth rate and the debond energy. However, a fundamental understanding of the relation between the two is missing. In this study we explore the connection between interfacial adhesion and void growth in a current driven system. Several experiments with varying test conditions are carried out on Blech-like test structures with different capping layers. The influence of these capping layers is captured through direct void growth measurements. Comparison of activation energy associated with electromigration was made against existing literature. It was found to be consistent with values reported for surface/interface dominated diffusion mechanisms. Further, an extension is proposed to the phase growth relations derived in existing literature to include the effect of surface adhesion. Interfacial adhesion energy ratios are extracted from the electromigration experiments for two of the test structures (Cu-Ta and Cu-SiNx) tested in this study. This ratio is compared to values reported in literature for the two interfaces and they show good agreement with experimental data.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Ganesh Subbarayan

Additional Committee Member 2

Muhammad A. Alam

Additional Committee Member 3

Mysore Dayananda

Additional Committee Member 4

Charles M. Krousgrill