Abstract

Transverse-mode competition and polarization selection in gain-guided vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers are studied by use of a transverse continuous model that incorporates basic physical mechanisms of polarization dynamics. Polarization stability and polarization switching within the fundamental Gaussian mode are described. The first-order transverse mode always starts lasing orthogonally polarized to the fundamental one. At larger currents polarization coexists with several active transverse modes. These results are shown to be sensitive to the carrier spin-flip relaxation rate.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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