Leti and partners develop pressure-based fingerprint sensor

September 5, 2017 - 

European R&D project known as PiezoMAT (PIEZOelectric nanowire MATrices), comprised of Leti, an advanced-research institute within the CEA Technological Research Division, and several partners, has developed a pressure-based fingerprint sensor with a resolution that’s more than twice as high as current U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requirements.

The project’s proof of concept demonstrates that a matrix of interconnected piezoelectric zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanowires grown on silicon can reconstruct the smallest features of human fingerprints at 1,000 dots per inch (DPI).

“The pressure-based fingerprint sensor derived from the integration of piezo-electric ZnO nanowires grown on silicon opens the path to ultra-high resolution fingerprint sensors, which will be able to reach resolution much higher than 1,000 DPI,” said Antoine Viana, Leti’s project manager. “This technology holds promise for significant improvement in both security and identification applications.”

The eight-member project team comprises of European companies, universities and research institutes, including Leti (Grenoble, France), the team comprises of Fraunhofer IAF (Freiburg, Germany), Centre for Energy Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest, Hungary), Universität Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany), Kaunas University of Technology (Kaunas, Lithuania), SPECIFIC POLYMERS (Castries, France), Tyndall National Institute (Cork, Ireland), and OT-Morpho (Paris, France).

The team created a demonstrator embedding a silicon chip with 250 pixels, and its associated electronics for signal collection and post-processing in an effort to demonstrate the concept and the major technological achievements, rather than the maximum potential nanowire integration density.

The project’s long-term development will pursue full electronics integration for optimal sensor resolution.

In addition, the project provided valuable experience and know-how in several key areas, including optimization of seed-layer processing, localized growth of well-oriented ZnO nanowires on silicon substrates, mathematical modeling of complex charge generation, and synthesis of new polymers for encapsulation.

The project’s research and deliverables have been presented in scientific journals and at conferences, including Eurosensors 2016 in Budapest.

The 44-month, €2.9 million (US$3.5 million) PiezoMAT (PIEZOelectric nanowire MATrices) research project was funded by the European Commission in the Seventh Framework Program.

Last September, Leti and OT (Oberthur Technologies) announced that they signed a letter of intent to collaborate on a wide range of technologies and digital solutions for security and performance in a connected world.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.