High power GaAs-based high power diode bars produce wavelengths in the range of 780 to 980 nm and are widely used for pumping a broad range of rare earth doped solid-state lasers. As the markets for these laser systems mature, diode lasers that operate at higher power levels, greater overall efficiency, and higher reliability are in high demand. In this paper we report efficiencies of over 70% in the 9xx-nm band, continuous wave power levels over 340 Watts in the 8xx-nm band, and reliability data at or above 100 Watts. We will also review the latest advances in performance and detail the basic physics and material science required to achieve these results.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.