Using vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) as light sources in optical traps offers various advantages compared to the common approaches. In particular, these are small dimensions, a circularly symmetric output beam, and the simple fabrication of two-dimensional laser arrays. We investigate the application of VCSELs in a standard tweezers setup, where trapping forces of up to 4.4 pN are achieved with 15 μm polystyrene particles and a transverse multi-mode VCSEL. The latter has improved trapping characteristics compared to a single-mode device. By introducing a small-spaced array of three VCSELs in the setup, non-mechanical movement with average velocities of up to 3 μm/s is demonstrated with 10 μm particles. Furthermore, the novel concept of the integrated optical trap is presented. By integrating a microlens directly on the VCSEL output facet, two-dimensional optical trapping is achieved in a small-sized system without any external optics. Elevation and trapping of 10 μm polystyrene particles is demonstrated at optical output powers of about 5 mW. In order to improve the beam quality of the lasers, the inverted surface relief technique is applied, which eliminates a previously observed offset between laser center and trapped particle.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.