The design, fabrication, and performance of double-stage taper photodiodes (DSTPs) are reported. The objective of this work is to develop devices compatible with 40-Gb/s applications. Such devices require high efficiency, ultrawide band, high optical power handling capability, and compatibility with low-cost module fabrication. The integration of mode size converters improves both the coupling efficiency and the responsivity with a large fiber mode diameter. Responsivity of 0.6 A/W and 0.45 A/W are achieved with a 6-μm fiber mode diameter and cleaved fiber, respectively, providing relaxed alignment tolerances (±1.6 μm and ±2 μm, respectively), compatible with cost-effective packaging techniques. DSTPs also offer a wide bandwidth greater than 40 GHz and transverse-electric/transverse-magnetic polarization dependence lower than 0.2 dB. Furthermore, a DSTP saturation current as high as 11 mA results in optical power handling greater than +10 dBm and a high output voltage of 0.8 V. These capabilities allow the photodiode to drive the decision circuit without the need of a broad-band electrical amplifier. The DSTP devices presented here demonstrate higher responsivities with large fiber mode diameter and better optical power handling capabilities and are compared with classical side-illuminated photodiodes.