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We report a novel three-contact vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) for use in polarization-sensitive optical applications. The device consists of two vertical cavities, coupled by a common mirror. We demonstrate that one can independently choose both the power of the output beam-through the current in the first cavity-and the polarization state-through the bias applied to the second cavity. The control of the polarization state is performed with a control voltage in the range -2 to 0 V. Within this interval, the structure exhibits a bistable behavior. We present the very first experimental proof of nonthermal, electrically induced polarization switching in coupled-cavities VCSELs.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2004