In addition to the manufacturing and associated cost advantages, VCSELs possess performance advantages over both conventional LEDs and edge-emitting lasers.

Wafer Surface Emission
Surface emission allows full testing at the wafer level
  • Low threshold currents for high efficiency and low power consumption
  • Surface-normal emission, low divergence and circular output beam, ease of coupling, and simple optics.
  • Easily scaleable to one- or two-dimensional arrays
  • Very high speed, with rise and fall times of 100 picoseconds or less
  • Controlled single transversal mode and polarization
  • 4~5X better wavelength stability with temperature than conventional edge emitting lasers
  • Manufacturing flexibility
  • Package flexibility
Power consumption (e.g. 1mW optical power)2-3mW20mW3-5mW
Beam quality/ease of coupling to opticsBest, round low divergenceFair, AsymmetricPoor, Very wide divergence (Lambertian)
Speed10Gbps1 Gbps0.1 Gbps
Temperature stability0.06nm/°C0.25nm/°C0.25nm/°C
Spectral width1nm1-2nm20-30nm
SpeckleLow in an arrayHighLow