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In present day semiconductor lasers, there is a serious asymmetry between the very light conduction band mass and the very heavy valence band mass. Under laser threshold conditions, the hole occupation remains classical even while the electrons are degenerate. This results in a significant penalty in terms of threshold current density, carrier injection level, and excess Auger and other nonradiative recombination. We propose a combination of strain and quantum confinement to reduce the valence band effective mass and to lessen the laser threshold requirements.