Asahi Etches Glass for Fingerprints

By Tom Allen
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Asahi Glass was showing a new cover glass product, on the CrucialTec stand, with a recess to house a fingerprint sensor. It is called ‘Glass on Top with Shine’.

Today’s fingerprint sensors can read a fingerprint through about 300-400µm of glass, but most cover glass is 500-600µm thick. There has been a trend to supply thinner cover glass, but recently most glass makers are returning to the thicker, more robust glass.

Asahi etches a space in its cover glass (300-400µm glass was on show, but the company can use different thicknesses if required); this etching goes between 80µm and 150µm into the glass. Asahi treats the glass or uses coatings to enhance its durability.

In order to enable sensors to be used with more durable glass, Asahi is working with IC sensor manufacturers, like CrucialTec, to create more powerful fingerprint readers. The sensing is extremely fast, though; there was little or no delay when we used the demonstration model between placing a finger on the reader and it being detected.

For now, the sensor is located in the front glass, near the bottom of the phone screen. In the future, the sensor will be able to be located anywhere on the display.

Price information was not available, but we were told that the premium for etched cover glass will not be “a huge difference”.