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Dielectrically apertured vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers are modeled using a Green’s-function-based optical solver that allows calculation of the full-vector lasing modes and their threshold conditions. The laser is separated into subsystems consisting of a planar microcavity, a dielectric aperture, and an active gain medium. The exact Green’s function solution for a radiating point source in the planar microcavity is then used to construct an eigenvalue equation for the self-consistent lasing modes. The derived eigenvalue equation is numerically solved to evaluate threshold dependence on aperture and cavity design. Results show a low threshold for thin oxide apertures placed at field antinodes, as well as for tapered oxides with thin tapers placed at field nodes. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.