The increasing interest in vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL's) requires the corresponding development of circuit-level VCSEL models for use in the design and simulation of optoelectronic applications. Unfortunately, existing models lack either the computational efficiency or the comprehensiveness warranted by circuit-level simulation. Thus, in this paper we present a comprehensive circuit-level model that accounts for the thermal and spatial dependence of a VCSEL's behavior. The model is based on multimode rate equations and empirical expressions for the thermal dependence of the active-layer gain and carrier leakage, thereby facilitating the simulation of VCSEL's in the context of an optoelectronic system. To confirm that our model is valid, we present sample simulations that demonstrate its ability to replicate typical dc, small-signal, and transient operation, including temperature-dependent light-current (LI) curves and modulation responses, multimode behavior, and diffusive turn-off transients. Furthermore, we verify our model against experimental data from four devices reported in the literature. As the results will show, we obtained excellent agreement between simulation and experiment.
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