What is a biometric fingerprint sensor?

A biometric fingerprint sensor captures an image of the ridges and valleys that make up an individual’s fingerprint. Since a fingerprint is entirely unique to a certain person this image captured by the sensor is used to perform authentication with a biometric matching algorithm.

What is a capacitive fingerprint sensor?

Capacitive fingerprint sensors generate an image by measuring the changes in capacitance between the ridges and valleys that make up the fingerprint. This contrasts with a traditional optical sensor which uses reflected light to build an image of the fingerprint.

We are one of only two suppliers to offer off-chip capacitive fingerprint sensors and the only supplier using this technology with the preferred ridge matching biometric algorithm. Our off-chip capacitive sensors separate the sensing elements from the silicon chip that makes the capacitance measurement to build an image of the fingerprint. This ingenious design ensures excellent security, significantly higher image fidelity, superb noise immunity and market-leading usability under real-world conditions. You can find out more here.

What is a fingerprint sensor module?

Our fingerprint sensor modules form a complete end-to-end biometric solution. The module includes all you need to develop, prototype and manufacture your own product’s biometric interface. We have taken our market leading SmartFinger® fingerprint sensors, which already come with a proprietary image capture chip, and combined them with the necessary power management circuitry and processor to run the biometric matching algorithm. This end-to-end solution ensures your biometric innovations deliver superior image quality, extreme durability, and market-leading performance whilst ensuring integration is simple for you. You can find out more here.

How does the size of fingerprint sensor effect reliability?

If the fingerprint sensor has only captured a small part of the overall fingerprint, trying to match this in everyday use will be extremely difficult. People are unlikely to place their finger on a sensor in the same position every single time, so it is important that the sensor is large enough to capture the fingerprint at a variety of ergonomically friendly angles. This pinching action, known as ‘tip touching’ is very natural when handling a payment card and must therefore be accounted for.

Why is a larger fingerprint sensor surface area important?

A greater surface area allows for a larger proportion of biometric data from a person’s fingerprint. Consequently, accuracy is inherently improved, as the biometric template captured has more data to inform fingerprint authentication.

What can impact the fingerprint authentication process?

The biometric data obtained from our fingerprints is extremely volatile and anything from varying pressure when touching the sensor, to scarred tissue on the fingerprint, can affect the fingerprint authentication process. Inconsistencies in our fingerprints, such as these, can cause ‘false negative’ responses. This is when a valid biometric sample is provided, but the system falsely rejects it.

How much power do our sensors need to operate in smart cards?

There is no battery needed for a biometric smart card to work. They have low power consumption and can operate using the power from a POS terminal. The biometric performance is based on a proprietary matching algorithm that was designed from the ground up for the limited compute resources available in smart cards.