A spatial domain scar removal strategy for fingerprint image enhancement

Mohammad A U Khan, Tariq M. Khan*, D. G. Bailey, Yinan Kong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Fingerprints are the oldest and most widely used form of biometric identification. Many researchers have addressed the fingerprint classification problem and significant progress has been made in designing automatic fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) over the past two decades. However, some design factors such as lack of reliable minutia extraction algorithms, difficulty in quantitatively defining a reliable match between fingerprint images, poor image acquisition, low contrast images create bottlenecks in achieving the desired performance. Noticeable among them is the fact that digitally acquired fingerprint images are rarely of perfect quality to be used directly with AFIS; one important step is fingerprint enhancement. Conventional fingerprint enhancement methods, such as Gabor and anisotropic filters, do fill the holes and gaps in ridge lines but lack the necessary capability to tackle scar lines. For scar lines, an explicit filling process is proposed that is a mix of Fourier and spatial domain strategies. The proposed method is to make use of the Fourier domain directional field to trace an appropriate candidate for the scar pixels to be replaced with. The necessary components of the process are locating scars, estimating directional field, and the filling strategy. This process can act as front-end to the subsequent Gabor and anisotropic diffusion filtering. The simulation results for synthetic, as well as real fingerprints, show improved performance regarding better extraction of genuine minutia points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-274
Number of pages17
JournalPattern Recognition
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Directional field
  • Enhancement
  • Fingerprint
  • Scars


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