Surface Finish

Available surfaces

HAL SnPb

HAL SnPb (lead-tin) is nowadays allowed only in certain technology fields such as medicine and aeronautics. HAL SnPb has been replaced by HAL lead-free. If the surface finish is specified only as HAL or HASL, typically the lead-free version is meant. HAL SnPb is suitable for standard SMD, but shows weaknesses in fine pitch applications. A chemical surface is preferable for finepitch (see also HAL vs.  chemical gold).

Advantages:

  • Good solderability
  • Good reflow properties

Disadvantages:

HAL lead-free

HAL (Hot Air Leveling, also known as HASL = Hot Air Solder Leveling) lead-free is a well-proven method to apply tin as circuit board surface. Every assembler should be able to process circuit boards with HAL lead-free surface without any problem. HAL lead-free is suitable for standard SMD, but exhibits some weaknesses for finepitch applications, for which a chemical surface should be preferred (see also HAL vs.  chemical gold). Due to popular demand, Multi-CB can offer HAL lead-free in pooling service (cheaper price).

Advantages:

  • Good solderability
  • Good reflow properties
  • Available in Pool-Service

Disadvantages:

  • Pads are non-planar

Chemical tin

The surface finish chemical tin (also known as immersion tin) is rarely requested anymore for manufacturing reasons. Due to the comparatively rapid oxidation of the copper, the shelf life is highly dependent on temperature and packaging. Fingerprints on the surface must be avoided.

Advantages:

  • Absolutely flat
  • Good for fine pitch
  • Good for SMD

Disadvantages:

  • Extra charge
  • Critical manufacturing process, handle with gloves
  • Faster oxidation, thus:
  • Limited storability
  • Better: use chemical gold

Chemical silver

Chemical silver (also known as immersion silver) is comparable to the surface finish chemical tin, with better properties concerning oxidation and contact applications. However, also chemical silver is a comparatively damageable surface finish and has therefore a low market share. Chemical silver is particularly suitable for high frequency applications, as the surface allows a low-loss HF transmission because of the skin effect.

Advantages:

  • Particularly suitable for high frequency applications (low-loss HF transmission see skin effect)
  • Absolutely flat
  • Good for fine pitch
  • Good for SMD
  • Better shelf life than chemical tin

Disadvantages:

  • Extra charge
  • Comparatively damageable surface finish, use gloves
  • Limited storability
  • Surface tarnishes over time and there can be creep corrosion
  • Solder mask defined pads should be avoided
  • Better: use chemical gold

Chemical gold (ENIG)

Chemical gold is also known as immersion gold or ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold). Just as with chemical tin and chemical silver, chemical gold is an extremely flat circuit board surface, and has very good oxidation properties. It is perfectly suited for finepitch and bonding (aluminium wire) applications. Due to popular demand, Multi-CB can offer chemical gold in pooling service (cheaper price).

Advantages:

  • Absolutely flat
  • Very good for fine pitch
  • Very good for SMD
  • Very good wetting characteristics
  • Good storability
  • Available in Pool-Service

Disadvantages:

  • Possible extra charge

ENEPIG

ENEPIG (Electroless Nickel Electroless Palladium Immersion Gold) is extremely planar and has very good oxidation properties. It is ideally suited for soldering applications and aluminum wire bonding / gold wire bonding.

Advantages:

  • Absolutely flat
  • Very good for alu-wire-bonding
  • Very good for gold-wire-bonding
  • Very good for fine pitch, SMD
  • Very good wetting characteristics
  • Good storability
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