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Grain Boundaries and Stresses: Microchip Component Failure and Electromigration

We recently developed a continuum model of mass transport phenomena in microelectronic circuits due to high current densities (electromigration) and gradients in normal stress along grain boundaries. As microelectronic circuits become smaller and current densities become higher, failure due to electromigration damage is an ever-increasing problem in the design of circuits. Our work, performed in close collaboration with physicists and materials scientists at Motorola, is the first systematic study of the self-consistency and well-posedness of the equations and boundary conditions for stress-grain evolution in microconnect failures.