Real-time in situ monitoring of wet thermal oxidation for precise confinement in VCSELs
A new imaging method is presented enabling the monitoring of the lateral wet thermal oxidation of a thin Al-containing layer embedded in a vertical cavity lasers (VCSEL) structure. This method is based on the measurement of the modification of the VCSEL reflectivity spectrum inherent to the aperture layer refractive index change, with an observation window restricted to the wavelength ranges for which this reflectivity variation is maximal. The main purpose is the accurate control of the buried confinement aperture, and, thereby, that of the electro-optical characteristics of the laser device. The kinetics of the lateral oxidation has been studied for small-size aperture VCSEL (3–10 µm) and for long-range oxidation depths. This straightforward method based on an optical imaging system will enable robust improvement of the production yield of this multifactor-dependent technological process.