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A vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser was fabricated using a lateral p-n junction to inject carriers in the InGaAs active layer. The lateral p-n junction is formed in GaAs epilayers doped only with silicon and grown by molecular-beam epitaxy on a patterned GaAs (311) A-oriented substrate. This design allows the use of electrically insulating distributed Bragg reflectors and coplanar contacts while simplifying device process. Pulsed-mode operation at room temperature was obtained with a threshold current of 2.3 mA. Light emission spectrum has a single peak at 942 nm with a full width at half maximum of 0.15 nm. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.