MEMS tunable vertical cavity surface emitting laser (MEMS-VCSEL) development, over the past two decades, has primarily focused on communications and spectroscopic applications. Because of the narrow line-width, single-mode operation, monolithic fabrication, and high-speed capability of these devices, MEMS-VCSELs also present an attractive optical source for emerging swept source optical coherence tomography (SSOCT) systems. In this paper, we describe the design and performance of broadly tunable MEMS-VCSELs targeted for SSOCT, emphasizing 1310nm operation for cancer and vascular imaging. We describe the VCSEL structure and fabrication, employing a fully oxidized GaAs/AlxOy mirrors in conjunction with dielectric mirrors and InP-based multi-quantum well active regions. We also describe the optimization of MEMs speed and frequency response for SSOCT. Key results include 1310 nm VCSELs with >120nm dynamic tuning range and imaging rates near 1MHz, representing the widest VCSEL tuning range and some of the fastest swept source imaging rates thus far obtained. We also describe how low-noise semiconductor optical amplification boosts average optical power to the required levels, while maintaining superior OCT imaging quality and state of the art system sensitivity. Finally, we present measured multi-centimeter dynamic coherence length, and discuss the implications of VCSELs for OCT.© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.