Abstract

We investigate the use of low-threshold 980-nm vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers for free-space optical interconnects. The vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers and backilluminated detectors are monolithically integrated with microlenses on the back sides of the growth substrates to eliminate the necessity of external optics. With a channel pitch of 250 μm, an interconnect length between boards of the order of 5 to 10 mm with a ±50-μm lateral alignment tolerance can be achieved without external relay optics. The complete link is modeled to predict the system’s efficiency and maximum bit rate. Data transmission at 500 Mbits/s per channel is demonstrated. The data rate was limited by parasitics, not the inherent bandwidth of the laser diodes.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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