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Summary form only given. Significant progress has been obtained on quantum dot (QD) lasers, but the possible advantages of QD amplifiers are not yet clear. We show here that a relatively slow coupling between the optically active QD carrier states and the surrounding carrier reservoir can lead to efficient gain modulation suitable for ultrafast signal processing. The basis of this property is that the process of spectral hole burning (SHB) can become very effective. We consider a traveling wave optical amplifier consisting of the dot states, which interact with the optical signal (no inhomogeneous broadening included), and the wetting layer (WL), where current is injected. Time evolution is described by two coupled rate equations. Carrier capture from WL to dots is characterized by the capture time /spl tau//sub 0/.