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Influences on the semiconductor laser properties of external optical feedback, i.e., return of a portion of the laser output from a reflector external to the laser cavity, have been examined. Experimental observations with a single mode laser is presented with analysis based on a compound cavity laser model, which has been found to explain essential features of the experimental results. In particular, it has been demonstrated that a laser with external feedback can be multistable and show hysteresis phenomena, analogous to those of non-linear Fabry-Perot resonator. It has also been shown that the dynamic properties of injection lasers are significantly affected by external feedback, depending on interference conditions between returned light and the field inside the laser diode.