What Is a MEMS VCSEL and How Does It Work?

The OCTLIGHT VCSEL Swept Source is based on a semiconductor laser diode with an integrated wavelength sweeping mechanism. The laser diode is a Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) that has single-mode light emission and a long coherence length. The wavelength sweep is implemented using a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) to change the length of the laser cavity by which a stable and rapid wavelength sweep results.

Due to their high reliability and unique Gaussian beam profile, 8xx-9xx nm VCSELs have become a cornerstone in datacom using active optical cables (AOC) for cloud computing and now also in 3D imaging using time-of-flight (ToF) and VCSEL arrays for smartphones and automotive. LiDAR is the latest application area where VCSELs are being deployed for both ToF and Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW).