DBR mirrors, and vertical cavity surface emitting lasers that incorporate such mirrors, comprised of stacked, multiple levels of different materials having different etching rates for a selected etchant and etching method. Such DBRs are fabricated by etching an upper level(s) down to a lower level(s) to form a pillar or trenched structure, beneficially having an aperture, that has predetermined optical characteristics. When part of a vertical cavity surface emitting laser, a lower level can include an ion-implanted region that optionally extends into an active region and into a bottom DBR.

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