FlexEnable and ISORG reveal first large-area fingerprint and vein sensor on plastic

The flexible large-area fingerprint and vein sensor from FlexEnable and ISORG

FlexEnable, a leading developer of flexible organic electronics based in Cambridge, UK, and the French company ISORG, specialised in organic photodetectors and large-area image sensors, have presented the world’s first large-area flexible fingerprint sensor on plastic designed for biometric applications. With an 8.6 cm x 8.6 cm active area, 84µm pitch (78µm pixel size with 6µm spacing) and 1024 x 1024 = 1048576 pixel resolution, this flexible sensor is only 0.3 mm thick and can operate in visible and near infra-red up to wavelengths of 900nm. The technology is capable of measuring not only the fingerprint, but also the configuration of veins in the fingers, providing additional security versus that of a surface fingerprint alone.

The sensor breakthrough has been achieved by deposition of organic printed photodetectors (OPD) from ISORG onto a plastic organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) backplane, developed by FlexEnable, to create a flexible fingerprint sensor that is ultra-thin, light, robust and lensless. The large label-thin sensing area can be applied to almost any surface – and even wrapped around the objects in our daily lives that we typically come into contact with – such as a car steering wheel that recognizes the driver as soon as the wheel is touched, or a credit card with integrated biometric detection that does not compromise current form factors. The addition of vein sensing on top of fingerprint sensing provides a second level of security, since each user’s vein pattern in the finger is unique and requires the user to be alive for detection to be successful.

Large-area fingerprint sensors allow more information to be collected. However, they become prohibitively expensive for many applications, when conventional silicon technology is used. In contrast, flexible plastic fingerprint sensors bring cost advantages to large-area manufacturing due to the low temperature and printing process on plastic being employed. Moreover, fingerprint sensors made of plastic have similar optical performances to conventional optical fingerprint sensors such as sensitivity, linearity, and low noise, but without the need for expensive and bulky optics.

Jean-Yves Gomez, CEO of ISORG, said: “This break-through development will spark the creation of next-generation products in biometrics.  No other solution can offer large area sensing as well as finger print and veins recognition while being flexible, light and robust. Moreover, our team is able to provide reference design as well as image improvement algorithms and illumination solutions to ease the sensor integration into new applications.”  

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