Optical fingerprint scanners suffer from limited depth of penetration and are particularly sensitive to the surface conditions of the skin. Fingerprint scanners based on ultrasounds offer the possibility to explore the surface and the underlying tissues of the finger and to detect blood flow, leading to enhanced robustness and reliability in biometric applications. Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (cMUTs) have shown to have great potential for use in medical imaging applications. The ease of fabricating broadband high-frequency ultrasound transducers makes the cMUT technology a good candidate for ultrasound based biometrics. This paper presents the design, fabrication and characterization of a cMUT linear array probe optimized for near-field ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound images of fingerprints are obtained using a customized 3D ultrasound scanning system.
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