Morgan Advanced Materials Optimising Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) Coating for Fingerprint Recognition Devices

Morgan Advanced Materials (MTC), a leader in innovative ceramic, glass, metal, and engineered coating solutions, is working with leading fingerprint scanner experts to optimise its Diamonex® diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for fingerprint recognition devices. Initial tests have shown that the Diamonex DLC coating can significantly extend the life of the scanners without sacrificing the precision of the sensitive device optics it is protecting. As a result, manufacturers will be able to offer products with greater reliability and significantly longer life.

Already widely used in medical, aerospace and automotive applications, and in retail scanners for over 15 years, the Diamonex DLC coating is an amorphous carbon material that displays some of the unique properties of diamond. By applying it as a coating the hardness, wear resistance and hydrophobic properties of the material can be passed on to different surfaces. The coating also has a slick, smooth feel, which reduces friction and repels dirt.

Traditionally, the fingerprint scanning areas of the devices have been constructed of relatively fragile silicon metal or plastic - making them susceptible to scratches and damage from other environmental elements. This, in addition to the build up of finger print oils on the surface, often results in decreased precision and can lead to unit failure.

“Secure access biometric applications are becoming increasingly common and fingerprint recognition is a popular and, in most cases, cost effective solution,” explains Richard Hobbs, General Manager Morgan Advanced Materials Diamonex business. “The technology is becoming more pervasive, and penetrating a number of applications where damage to the sensor devices is a significant issue. Therefore the need for a robust coating to protect the devices from wear and tear and environmental abuse is growing.”

The Diamonex DLC coating process produces a highly dense conformal finish with excellent adhesion. The DLC coating is typically a dielectric (non-conducting) layer, which means it can be built into the device structure as an active part of capacitance fingerprint sensors. For particular applications, the electrical properties of the Diamonex DLC coating can also be modified, e.g. to provide a level of static charge dissipation.

MTC Diamonex offers its unique DLC coating technology as a service coating option to customers that can ship their products to the Allentown, PA facility in the United States. Alternatively, the company also offers complete DLC coating systems for sale, developed to meet specific customer needs, and backed by expert installation, training, and service staff. In either approach, MTC Diamonex application and development engineers work collaboratively with customers to develop or fine-tune the DLC coatings to deliver superior product performance.

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