Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Research Publications

Document Type


Publication Date


First Advisor

Paul O Leisher


Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) enable a range of applications such as data transmission, trace sensing, atomic clocks, and optical mice. For many of these applications, the output power and beam quality are both critical (i.e. high output power with good beam quality is desired). Multi-mode VCSELs offer much higher power than single-mode devices, but this comes at the expense of lower beam quality. Directly observing the resolved mode structure of multi-mode VCSELs would enable engineers to better understand the underlying physics and help them to develop multi-mode devices with improved beam quality. In this work, a low-cost, high-resolution (<3 >pm) Echelle grating spectrometer system is used to map the two-dimensional VCSEL near-field emission profile. The system spectrally disperses the VCSEL beam and images it with high magnification onto a CMOS camera. The narrow spectral content of each LP mode allows direct observation of the modal content of the VCSEL.


RHURP 15-03