Optical fingerprint imaging involves capturing a digital imageof the print using visible light. This type of sensor is, inessence, a specialized digital camera. The top layer of thesensor, where the finger is placed, is known as the touchsurface. Besides this layer is a light-emitting phosphor layerwhich illuminates the surface of the finger. The light reflectedfrom the finger passes through the phosphor layer to an arrayof solid state pixels (a charge coupled device) which captures avisual image of the fingerprint. A scratched or dirty touchsurface can cause a bad image of the fingerprint. Adisadvantage of this type of sensor is the fact that the imagingcapabilities are affected by the quality of skin on the finger.For instance, a dirty or marked finger is difficult to imageproperly. Also, it is possible for an individual to erode the outerlayer of skin on the fingertips to the point where the fingerprintis no longer visible. It can also be easily fooled by an image of a fingerprint if not coupled with a "live finger" detector.However, unlike capacitive sensors, this sensor technology isnot susceptible to electrostatic discharge damage.
Like optical scanners, capacitive fingerprint scanners generatean image of the ridges and valleys that make up a fingerprint.But instead of sensing the print using light, the capacitors useelectrical current.Capacitance sensors utilize the principlesassociated with capacitance in order to form fingerprintimages. The two equations used in this type of imaging are:
is the capacitance in farads
is the charge in coulombs
is the potential in volts
is the permittivity of free space, measured in farad per meter
is the dielectric constant of the insulator used
is the area of each plane electrode, measured in squaremeters
is the separation between the electrodes, measured in meters.In this method of imaging, the sensor array pixels each act asone plate of a parallel-plate capacitor, the dermal layer (whichis electrically conductive) acts as the other plate, and the non-conductive epidermal layer acts as a dielectric.
A passive capacitance sensor uses the principle outlined aboveto form an image of the fingerprint patterns on the dermal layerof skin. Each sensor pixel is used to measure the capacitance atthat point of the array. The capacitance varies between theridges and valleys of the fingerprint due to the fact that thevolume between the dermal layer and sensing element invalleys contains an air gap. The dielectric constant of theepidermis and the area of the sensing element are knownvalues. The measured capacitance values are then used todistinguish between fingerprint ridges and valleys.
Active capacitance sensors use a charging cycle to apply avoltage to the skin before measurement takes place. Theapplication of voltage charges the effective capacitor. Theelectric field between the finger and sensor follows the patternof the ridges in the dermal skin layer. On the discharge cycle,the voltage across the dermal layer and sensing element iscompared against a reference voltage in order to calculate thecapacitance. The distance values are then calculatedmathematically, using the above equations, and used to form animage of the fingerprint. Active capacitance sensors measurethe ridge patterns of the dermal layer like the ultrasonicmethod. Again, this eliminates the need for clean, undamagedepidermal skin and a clean sensing surface.
Ultrasonic sensors make use of the principles of medicalultrasonography in order to create visual images of thefingerprint. Unlike optical imaging, ultrasonic sensors use veryhigh frequency sound waves to penetrate the epidermal layer of skin. The sound waves are generated using piezoelectrictransducers and reflected energy is also measured usingpiezoelectric materials. Since the dermal skin layer exhibits thesame characteristic pattern of the fingerprint, the reflectedwave measurements can be used to form an image of thefingerprint. This eliminates the need for clean, undamagedepidermal skin and a clean sensing surface.
Webcams typically include a lens, an image sensor, and somesupport electronics . Various lenses are available, the mostcommon being a plastic lens that can be screwed in and out toset the camera's focus. Image sensors can be CMOS or CCD,the former being dominant for low-cost cameras, but CCDcameras do not necessarily outperform CMOS-based camerasin the low cost price range. Consumer webcams usually offer aresolution in the VGA region, at a rate of around 25 frames persecond. The higher resolution of 1.3 Megapixel is alsoavailable in the market.The camera pictured to the right, for example, uses a SonixSN9C101 to transmit its image over USB. Some cameras -such as mobile phone cameras - use a CMOS sensor withsupporting electronics 'on die', i.e. the sensor built on a singlesilicon chip, to save space and manufacturing costs.
College Science in India 1 : 3 December 2007Webcam Fingerprint Personal IdentificationIslam, Sayeed & Samraj 3