This article discusses the types of defects that occur in vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) and the tools typically used to detect them and identify the cause. It describes the basic design and operation of VCSELs and explains that most failures are due to dislocations in the crystal structure of the materials from which the devices are made. Of the various methods used to analyze such defects, electroluminescence (EL) is by far the most powerful as demonstrated in several EL images included in the article. The article also discusses the use of EBIC analysis, FIB cross-sectioning, and thermally induced voltage alteration (TIVA).

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