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Leti and partners target new fingerprint technology for ID applications in research project


CEA-Leti has announced the launch of PIEZOMAT, a research project funded by the European Commission to design and implement a new technology of fingerprint sensor that enables ultra-high resolution reconstruction of the smallest features of human fingerprints.

According to the group, PIEZOMAT will focus on establishing a proof-of-concept of the technology and demonstrating its potential for large-scale market penetration.

The Leti-coordinated project includes partners from France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania and Hungary. It aims to develop robust fingerprint sensors with resolutions beyond today’s 500dpi international standards, which is the minimum resolution required by the FBI for automated fingerprint identification purposes.

In particular, the technology relies on integrating and interconnecting a very large number of piezoelectric elements on a chip. These elements are made of vertical zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires grown directly onto a network of interconnected electrodes manufactured via microelectronics processing.

Aimed primarily at highly-reliable security and ID applications, Leti says PIEZOMAT is an opportunity for academic-SME-industry collaboration, involving Specific Polymers, a small provider of polymer solutions, and Morpho.

The three-year, US$ 3.96 million (€2.9M) project is part of the EC’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) for research and technological development.

PIEZOMAT, which refers to high-resolution fingerprint sensing using vertical PIEZOelectric nanowire MATrices, includes collaboration from CEA-Leti, Fraunhofer IAF, The Research Centre for Natural Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of ScienceLeipzig UniversityKaunus University of Technology, Specific Polymers, Tyndall National Institute and Safran Morpho.

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