Fabrication of 3D Fingerprint Phantoms via Unconventional Polycarbonate Molding

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Scientific Reportsvolume 8, Article number: 9613 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27885-1

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Structural properties

Fingerprint biometrics is a valuable and convenient security tool; every fingerprint is highly detailed and unique, we always have them on “hand”. Herein we describe a novel bench-top method of making 3D fingerprint replicas (namely, fingerprint phantoms) by exploring a unique microfabrication approach using conventional polymeric materials, to aid the development of reliable and accurate fingerprint biometrics. By pressing an impression of human fingerprints onto solvent-softened plastic plates (e.g., polycarbonate chips), followed by casting with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS, a popular elastomer), we can produce a flexible, nanoscale detailed, 3D reproduction of the fingerprint (“phantom”). By testing with standard optical fingerprint scanners, we have shown that all three levels of fingerprint details can be precisely recorded and match well with the original fingerprint. Superior to artificial fingerprint patterns, these phantoms have the exact 3D features of fingerprints and introduce no variability compared to human sampling, which make them perfect targets for standardizing fingerprint scanners and for biometric applications. We envision that the microcontact replication protocol via unconventional PC molding promises a practical, bench-top, instrumentation-free method to mass reproduce many other micro/nanostructures with high fidelity.

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