Modified thermal sensors have been produced and characterized for fingerprint recording applications. The sensors are derived from the IR imaging technology developed at INO. The sensor array is made of 160x120 pixel VOx based micro thermistors that provide an image of a surface area of 8.3 x 6.2 mm2 with a resolution of 488 dpi. The sensors were reinforced to withstand the mechanical pressure of the finger and the electrical discharges from the human skin. It is shown that despite their low thermal insulation, the sensors provide an image of the fingerprint pattern with relatively high contrast and resolution. With the acquisition electronics of an IR imager, the temprature of the sensor must be controlled. Measurements of the thermistor temperature were performed in order to access the intrinsic properties of the fingerprint sensors. The NETD is on the order of 2 10-3°C when the pass band of the filter is 330 kHz. The temporal behavior of the thermistor temperature shows that 10 ms after the finger has been brought into contact, with the sensor, the temperature difference between thermistors in ridge and valley areas of the fingerprint DTr,v may reach 80 10-3°C, for an initial temperature difference between the finger and the sensor of 1°C. Once the sensor reaches a steady thermal state after a long time, the same difference decreases to 1.9 10-3°C. The required temperature difference DTr,v, estimated to be 4.8 10-3°C to achieve an adequate signal to noise ratio, is relatively easy to reach at short and at long time periods. A modification to the method of acquisition is proposed to cancel the effect of the thermal drift of the sensor and to eliminate the need for the sensor temperature stabilization with a TEC. With this method, the recording of the fingerprint pattern may be achieved in 50 ms after the finger has been brought into contact. This leads to interesting gains in space, time and power consumption. Finally, for applications where the finger must remain in contact with the sensor, the same method may be efficient to reduce the need for thermal control.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.