A small-chirp 40-Gbps electroabsorption modulator (EAM) with a novel tensile-strained asymmetric quantum-well (QW) absorption layer has been demonstrated for the first time. The strain and the band line-up of the asymmetric QW structure were designed in order to obtain a small-chirp operation, a clear eye opening, and a high extinction ratio simultaneously. The chirp measured as α-parameter was reduced without any penalty of extinction ratio and eye opening. The measured α-parameter was smaller than 1.5 at any bias voltage from 0 to -2 V. The measured 3-dB bandwidth of a 75-μm-long EAM exceeded 50 GHz at -1 V bias voltage. Under a 40-Gbps modulation, a clear eye opening was obtained, and the eye diagram showed no violation of the standard STM256/OC768 mask. The measured dynamic extinction ratio was over 11 dB.