Counterbalancing forces in electromigration

J. Hoekstra, A.P. Sutton, Tchavdar Todorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In electromigration (EM) experiments on metallic wires, a flux of atoms can lead to motion of the centre of mass (COM) of the wire. Hence, it may be tempting to assume that the flow of current produces a net force on the wire as a whole. We point out, on the basis of known momentum-balance arguments, that the net force on a metallic wire due to a passing steady-state current is zero. This is possible, because in addition to EM driving forces, acting on scattering centres, there are counterbalancing forces, acting on the rest of the system. Drift of the COM in EM experiments occurs inevitably because the substrate keeps the crystal lattice of the wire fixed, while allowing diffusion of defects in the bulk of the wire. This drift is not evidence for a net force on the wire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L137-L140
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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