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The longitudinal mode spectrum of stripe geometry double heterostructure (DH) lasers exhibits a spectral broadening of ∼ 0.8 Å when the laser emits pulsations. The broadening results from a chirp to longer wavelengths which occurs during the ∼ 0.4 ns long pulse. The chirp is due to an increase of the refractive index resulting from the reduction in the carrier concentration during the pulse. Both plasma and band to band interactions affect the index change with the latter mechanism giving the dominant contribution. A comparison of the wavelength shift obtained during the pulse with the current dependent shift of the longitudinal modes at currents well below threshold confirms that the change in carrier concentration is responsible for the chirp.