Novel materials, notably quantum-dot (QD) semiconductor structures offer the unique possibility of combining exploitable spectral broadening of both gain and absorption with ultrafast carrier dynamic properties. Thanks to these characteristics QD-based devices have enhanced the properties of ultrashort pulse lasers and opened up new possibilities in ultrafast science and technology. In this paper we review the recent progress on the development of novel quantumdot SESAM structures for different lasers. We also demonstrate that QD structures can be designed to provide compact and efficient ultrashort pulse laser sources with high and low repetition rates.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.