The morphological evolution of hillocks at the unpassivated sidewalls of single-crystal metallic thin film interconnects is investigated via computer simulations using the free-moving boundary value problem. The effect of drift-diffusion anisotropy on the development of surface topographical scenarios is fully explored under the action of electromigration and capillary forces, utilizing numerous combinations of the surface texture, the drift-diffusion anisotropy and the direction of the applied electric field. The simulation studies yield analytical relationships for the velocity of the surface solitary waves and the drift velocity of electromigration-induced internal voids as a function of the applied current densities, which contain intrinsic and structural properties of the single-crystal thin films. The threshold value of the applied current density, above which electromigration-induced internal voids can be formed and may cause the catastrophic failure of interconnects by breaching, also appears explicitly in this relationship. (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V.