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The characteristics of optical bistability in a vertical-cavity semiconductor optical amplifier (VCSOA) operated in reflection are reported. The dependences of the optical bistability in VCSOAs on the initial phase detuning and on the applied bias current are analyzed. The optical bistability is also studied for different numbers of superimposed periods in the top distributed bragg reflector (DBR) that conform the internal cavity of the device. The appearance of the X-bistable and the clockwise bistable loops is predicted theoretically in a VCSOA operated in reflection for the first time, to the best of our knowledge. Moreover, it is also predicted that the control of the VCSOA's top reflectivity by the addition of new superimposed periods in its top DBR reduces by one order of magnitude the input power needed for the assessment of the X- and the clockwise bistable loop, compared to that required in in-plane semiconductor optical amplifiers. These results, added to the ease of fabricating two-dimensional arrays of this kind of device could be useful for the development of new optical logic or optical signal regeneration devices.