We report thermal effects revealed by a self-consistent treatment of plasma and lattice heating in vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). The basic idea of our treatment is to couple the equations for carrier density and field amplitude in the conventional laser theory with those for two additional variables, the plasma and lattice temperatures. The CW operation of the VCSELs is investigated both for a fixed and for a self-consistently determined lattice temperature. In the first case plasma heating results in an increase of carrier density with pumping and thus in a pumping dependent frequency shift. In the latter case, both plasma and lattice heating induce a thermal switch-off of the laser as the pumping is increased. Furthermore, depending on the initial alignment of the cavity frequency and the ambient temperature of the device, heating can introduce a discontinuous threshold, exhibiting a bistability between lasing and nonlasing states. While some of our theoretical predictions are in qualitative agreement with known experiments, others await experimental verification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0819417467
StatePublished - 1995
EventPhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices III - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Feb 6 1995Feb 9 1995

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherPhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices III
CitySan Jose, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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