Collin Arocho
14 May 2019

Holst Centre has announced a new breakthrough in biometric scanning technology. The Eindhoven-based innovation initiative between Imec and TNO revealed a new prototype of their large-area optical fingerprint sensor. With a transparency of more than seventy percent, this sensor is considered to be the most see-through in the industry.

As in previous fingerprint scanners from Holst Centre, this system can pick up on a heartbeat while reading a fingerprint for liveness detection. Furthermore, changes to the photodiode chemistry could allow the sensor to work in the near infrared to detect the pattern of veins in the hand, offering even more ways to verify a person’s identity. Moreover, this device could also be scaled to bigger sizes, giving the ability to read larger images, such as palmprints or four fingerprints, all at once.

Holst Centre large area sensor_web
Credit: Holst Centre

The basis of the new sensor comes from a proven combination of organic photodiodes (OPD), thin-film barrier and oxide thin-film transistors (TFTs) pioneered by Holst Centre. To achieve transparency, the developers utilized photolithography to pattern the photodiode layer within each pixel, creating microscopic islands of photosensitive material. This patterned pixel design helps ensure high transparency, while being compatible with existing flat panel display production processes – making integration with common LCD displays both feasible and cost effective.

Aside from biometrics, the scanner can also function as a document scanner. Offering high resolution and dynamic range with a low dark current, the sensor ensures good sensitivity, even in low light conditions. With this combination of scalable size and functionality, Holst sees one of the possible applications in customs security, as the device is compliant with FAP 60 – the FBI’s most-stringent certification category – and allows for a single system to read both passports and fingerprints.