Advanced Materials for Electronics

Electroless Nickel Plating Ammonia Type


Improved standard electroless nickel plating composition specific for making ohmic contacts to silicon and other semiconductor materials.


  • Stable, ready to use
  • Plates uniformly on p- and n- type silicon
  • Offers excellent adhesion and solderability
  • Plates on silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide
  • Produces quality electrical contacts on p- and n- type silicon

(Formerly ENPAT)

An improved electroless nickel plating solution (Brenner type) formulated for semiconductor use. Specifically, it is designed to deposit nickel uniformly and at equal plating rates on both p- and n- type silicon. The composition of this product is based upon ions of nickel complexes and hypophosphite with stabilizers. Only high purity chemicals are used. The plating solution is a stable product ready to use without the need for additions or mixing. Transene Electroless Nickel Plating Ammonia Type operates under conditions of a catalytic oxidation-reduction reaction between nickelous and hypophosphite ions. The chemical reaction is essentially a two-step process occurring simultaneously.

H2PO2 + H2O ® H2PO3 + 2H+ + 2e(1)
Ni ++ + 2e ® Ni (2)

Nickel is deposited containing about 1% phosphide, which improves the physical properties of the metalization.

The plating solution has an optimized standard electrode potential of 0.44 volts. The electrode characteristics help to regulate the difference in electronegativity between p- and n- type silicon relative to the potential of the nickel complex ions. Thus the rate of deposition of nickel on p- and n- silicon is equalized. The deposition on p- and n- type silicon is 2,000 Å/minute at 90 °C.


Appearance Blue Solution
pH 10
pH control Ammonium Hydroxide
Operating Temperature 90 – 95 °C
Platable Materials Si, Ge, GaAs, CdS, Ni, Fe, Kovar alloys
Std. Electrode potential 0.44volts at 95 °C
Nickel Metal Content 1 oz./gal
Deposition Rate 2000 A/min at 90 °C on silicon
Plating Coverage @ 75% depletion 1500 in2/0.1 mil


Melting Point 890 °C
Specific Gravity 7.85
Composition of Deposit 99 + % Ni, 1% phosphide
Coeff. Of Expan. 130 x 10-6in/in/°C
Reflectivity 65%
Elect. Conductivity 60 micro-ohm-cm
Thermal conductivity 0.01 cal/cm2/cm/°C/sec
Hardness (as plated) 500 vickers
Solderability Excellent-flux not required above
500 °C in hydrogen or forming gas atmosphere.

APPLICATION (on silicon)

Silicon surfaces must be clean, etched in Buffer-HF or HF solution to remove oxide, rinsed and stored in alcohol. On polished silicon wafers, plate 1000-2000 Å of electroless nickel; greater thickness on lapped silicon surfaces. The deposited nickel can be sintered into silicon between 500 °C and 750 °C to promote adhesion and ohmic contact. A second nickel deposit is generally required.