Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Photonics Research Center

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of The National Conference On Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2018

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) have found mainstream use in data centers and short-haul optical fiber communications. Along with the increase in the capacity of such systems comes an increase in the demand for greater power efficiency. System evaluation now includes an assessment of the energy required for each bit of data, a metric referred to as ‘joules per bit’. One source of loss for VCSELs is coupling loss, which is due to a mismatch in the mode profiles of the VCSELs and the optical fiber into which the VSCEL light is coupled. One way to reduce this loss is to develop single-mode VCSEL devices that are modally matched to optical fiber. Efficient development of these devices requires a technique for rapidly evaluating beam quality. This study investigates the use of a vertically mounted commercial beam profiling system and hardware interface software to quickly evaluate the beam quality of arbitrary beam profiles from on-wafer mounted VCSEL devices. This system captures the beam profile emitted from a VCSEL device at fixed locations along the vertical axis. Each image is evaluated within software along a predetermined axis, and the beam quality, or M2, is calculated according to international standards. This system is quantitatively compared against a commercial software package designed for determining beam quality across a fixed axis.