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Failure of the microelectronic device may be treated in the frame of non-equilibrium thermodynamics applied to open systems under the condition of incompatibility of steady states for different processes. The criterion of failure can be related to some threshold amount of the structural entropy produced and accumulated in the system by the external forces. This hypothesis provides a simple interpretation of the empirical Black equation for the mean time to failure in the case of electromigration, and helps to predict similar equations for the cases of thermo- and stress migration. The failure itself can be treated as a phase/structure transformation in the open system and described by kinetics similar to Kolmogorov-Avrami kinetics of the first-order phase transformations.
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