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We report a monolithic coupled-resonator vertical-cavity laser with an ion-implanted top cavity and a selectively oxidized bottom cavity which exhibits single fundamental-mode operation. The output powers are as high as 6.1 mW with side mode suppression ratios greater than 30 dB. The sizes of the implant and oxide current apertures are shown to be important for demonstrating the required selectivity for the fundamental lasing mode. With a fixed bias current on the implant cavity and increasing oxide cavity current, mode switching from single-mode operation to multimode operation and back to single-mode operation was observed. The intensities of the fundamental and first transverse modes were calculated by solving a set of multimode rate equations. The calculation indicates that the observed mode switching can be identified with changes in the optical length of the oxide cavity with increasing pump current. The observed mode dynamics are unique to coupled-resonator vertical-cavity lasers. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.