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Experimental and Computational Study of Electromigration

Department of Physics

Tuesday, September 01, 2020 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project aims to develop understanding of the phenomenon of electromigration: the atomic movement that occurs in an electrical conductor caused by high current density. Thin metallic films of various geometries and compositions will be prepared by Physical Vapour Deposition, sintering, and chemical preparation methods. The voids and hillocks that form as a result of the electromigration-induced atomic flux will be studied optically as they form in-situ, as well as by electron microscopy. The equations that govern electromigration based on solving the equations for current flow and temperature distribution (Laplace’s equation, Poisson equation etc.) cannot easily be solved using standard finite element techniques due to the difficulties in meshing complicated geometries as hillocks and voids form. Instead, a mesh free computational solution method based on stochastic calculus (Monte Carlo simulations based on random walks) will be adapted to solve the governing equations and match theory to experiment.
The project has three major objectives which are listed as follows:
i) To study the effects of electromigration in systems that have not previously been studied under electromigration e.g. porous and nanoporous systems, in order to explore how standard electromigration phenomena are modified in these new systems and geometries.
ii) To find practical applications of voids, hillocks, nanorods and whiskers which can be grown using electromigration for nanotechnology applications (e.g. sensor applications).
iii) To develop stochastic simulation methods for solving partial differential equations and determining where these methods are intrinsically superior to standard finite element solution strategies.
It is expected that as the project progresses, it will increasingly focus on one of the objectives.

Application Procedure
To be considered for the position candidates must apply via King’s Apply online application system. Details are available at

Please indicate your desired supervisor and quote research group Photonics & Nanotechnology in your application and all correspondence.

The selection process will involve a pre-selection on documents, if selected this will be followed by an invitation to an interview. If successful at the interview, an offer will be provided in due time.

Funding Notes

The Ph.D position is available for 3.5 years and covers tuition fees at the level set for UK/EU students, c. £5,300 p.a., and a tax-free stipend of approximately £17,000 p.a. with possible inflationary increases after the first year.


Tunable Ultra-high Aspect Ratio Nanorod Architectures grown on Porous Substrate via Electromigration, A. Mansourian, S.A. Paknejad, Q. Wen, G. Vizcay-Barrena, R.A. Fleck, A.V. Zayats, S.H. Mannan, Sci. Rep. 6, 22272; doi: 10.1038/srep22272, 2016.

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