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VCSELs offer several advantages over Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Edge Emitting Laser (EEL) technology:

  • Manufacturability: All-vertical construction enables the use of traditional semiconductor manufacturing equipment to keep fabrication costs down
  • Integrability: Semiconductor manufacturing and wafer integration of VCSELs is compatible with detectors and other circuitry
  • Reliability: VCSELs do not have the failure modes of traditional laser structures such as dark line defects. Also, because VCSELs can be implemented in arrays and have very long wearout life, they are not vulnerable to catastrophic optical damage like systems based on a single or few LEDs or EELs
  • Testability: VCSELS can be completely tested and burned-in while still in wafer form. This increases manufacturing yield and lowers cost
  • Scalability: VCSELs can be easily fabricated into one or two dimensional arrays to scale power output to match specific application requirements
  • Packageability: VCSELs allow the use of traditional low-cost LED packaging to reduce cost and enable LED replacement with VCSELs in existing applications
  • Custom Packaging: Chip-on-board technology and custom packaging are available to simplify system integration
  • Low Power: Power efficiency extends battery life and reduces thermal design constraints in larger systems

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Various types of IR illumination sources are compared (a); typical emission spectra (b) for IR LEDs (dashed line) and IR VCSELs (solid line) are shown at reference temperature (blue) and reference temperature +70°C (red).

Charts used with permission from Laser Focus World