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The VCSEL Advantage: Increased Power, Efficiency Bring New Applications

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Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) differ from edge-emitting lasers in that their output beam is perpendicular to the top surface of the device instead of parallel to it.

L. Arthur D’Asaro, Jean-Francois Seurin and James D. Wynn, Princeton Optronics, Inc.

Unlike an edge emitter, a VCSEL has a maximum operating power that is not limited by catastrophic optical damage of the exit aperture because its aperture is larger and its PN junction does not intersect the surface in the region of high optical intensity. These and other advantages result in high reliability. VCSEL processing also has cost and yield advantages because testing can be performed while the devices are still in wafer form. Moreover, wafer processing lends itself easily to 2-D array fabrication. Although VCSELs mostly have been confined to low-power (i.e., a few milliwatts)...Read full article

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