Semiconductor lasers and amplifiers were developed based on self-assembled quantum-dot gain material. This paper gives an overview about the recent work on GaAs- and InP-based quantum-dot devices mainly dedicated for telecom applications. The major advantage of quantum-dot like gain material, i.e. the possibility to tailor the spectral and spatial gain properties of an amplifying material, was used to optimize different device aspects, like low threshold current, broad band amplification or low temperature sensitivity. High performance GaAs-based continuous wave (cw) operating quantum-dot lasers could be fabricated with threshold currents of about 2 mA (L = 400 μm). Single mode emitting devices with emission wavelengths > 1.3 μm were realized by laterally coupled feedback gratings with threshold currents below 5 mA, output powers > 5 mW and cw operation temperatures up to 85 °C. Modulation frequencies of up to 7.5 GHz were obtained for standard device structures. For long wavelength telecom applications quantum-dot like material with dash geometry was developed on InP substrates with basic properties in the transition region between quantum-dot and -wire systems. A very large tuning range of the emission wavelength between 1.2 and 2.0 μm (room temperature) was obtained which allow the realization of material with ultra-wide gain bandwidth. Quantum-dash laser structures reaches threshold current densities < 1 kA/cm2. Ridge waveguide lasers with a cavity length of 1.9 mm show cw threshold currents of about 100 mA and maximum output powers > 40 mW per facet. With 300 μm long facet coated devices cw threshold currents of 23 mA and maximum operation temperatures in pulsed mode of 130 °C were achieved. Semiconductor optical amplifiers were fabricated by using broad band quantum-dash material. For a 1.9 mm long device, up to 22 dB gain was obtained with a three times larger spectral range than in comparable quantum well devices. High speed nearly pattern free signal amplification up to 10 GBit/s could be demonstrated and wavelength conversion experiments were performed.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.