[OPTICAL REVIEW Vol. 21, No. 6 (2014) 893-904]
© 2014 The Japan Society of Applied Physics

Advances and New Functions of VCSEL Photonics

Fumio KOYAMA1,2

1Photonics Integration System Research Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama 226-8503, Japan
2Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, 80203 Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

(Received September 4, 2014; Accepted September 5, 2014)

A vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) was born in Japan. The 37 years' research and developments opened up various applications including datacom, sensors, optical interconnects, spectroscopy, optical storages, printers, laser displays, laser radar, atomic clock and high power sources. A lot of unique features have been already proven, such as low power consumption, a wafer level testing and so on. The market of VCSELs has been growing up rapidly and they are now key devices in local area networks based on multi-mode optical fibers. Optical interconnections in data centers and supercomputers are attracting much interest. In this paper, the advances on VCSEL photonics will be reviewed. We present the high-speed modulation of VCSELs based on a coupled cavity structure. For further increase in transmission capacity per fiber, the wavelength engineering of VCSEL arrays is discussed, which includes the wavelength stabilization and wavelength tuning based on a micro-machined cantilever structure. We also address a lateral integration platform and new functions, including high-resolution beam scanner, vortex beam creation and large-port free space wavelength selective switch with a Bragg reflector waveguide.

Key words: vertical cavity surface emitting laser, semiconductor laser, laser array, wavelength division multiplexing, tunable laser, high speed modulation, micro electro-mechanical system, optical interconnect