What is it about?

Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are ubiquitous in every-day applications ranging from computer mice and laser printers to short-range fiber-optic communication. Increasing their output power requires a larger cross section which results in multi-mode lasing. Thus, broad-area VCSELs exhibit several lasing modes with different spatial patterns and different polarization states. The interaction of several lasing modes can lead to complex and even chaotic fluctuations of the output power which we studied with a standard commercial VCSEL.

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Why is it important?

One the one hand, intrinsic fluctuations of a laser's output power are detrimental to many applications, in particular in telecommunication, and need to be suppressed. On the other hand, there are many applications that utilize chaotic fluctuations as an entropy source, for example random number generation, secure telecommunication, chaotic sensing and Monte Carlo simulations. Understanding and eventually controlling the power fluctuations of semiconductor lasers such as the VCSEL studied here is hence of great interest for its possible applications.


VCSELs are uniquely complex semiconductor lasers which can feature ultrafast chaotic dynamics. Our work is an important step in understanding the dynamics of broad-area VCSELs created by the interaction of different spatial and polarization modes and can pave the way to create highly chaotic VCSELs as ultrafast entropy sources.

Stefan Bittner

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Complex nonlinear dynamics of polarization and transverse modes in a broad-area VCSEL, APL Photonics, December 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0104852.
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