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    nanoscience and nanotechnology: small is different

Electromigration as a nanofabrication tool

Dr. Alejandro V. Silhanek
Q-MAT Center y Université de Liège
Tuesday, 29 January 2019 11:00
Electromigration is the displacement of ions in a metal resulting from the momentum transfer between conducting electrons and diffusing atoms. Although its discovery can be traced back to more than 100 years ago, it became a major problem only when the severe conditions necessary for operation of integrated circuits made it apparent in the late 1960s. In conventional wires such as those used for domestic applications, the current density is limited to about 104 A/cm2 due to Joule heating. Current densities exceeding this value will produce enough heat to melt the metal wire. In this case, electromigration is not a serious concern. In micro and nanoscale circuits, however, current densities of 106 A/cm2 or even higher can circulate without burning the circuit. At these high current densities, electromigration becomes significant and an important cause of failure.
The initial negative perception of electromigration has progressively changed during the last decades, as the scientific community first understood the physical mechanisms involved in the process and then learnt to master it. In this presentation, I will briefly review the historical evolution of the topic, discuss the physical mechanisms and some material aspects, propose a method to efficiently and safely control its rate [1], and show some recent applications to the study of superconducting circuitry [2,3,4,5].
 
[1] V. Zharinov et al. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 89, 043904 (2018)
[2] X. D. A. Baumans et al. Nat. Commun. 7, 10560 (2016)
[3] X. D. A. Baumans et al. Small 13, 1700384 (2017)
[4] J. Lombardo et al. Nanoscale 10, 1987 (2018)
[5] W. Keijers et al. Nanoscale 10, 21475 (2018)