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The effect of variations in the vertical structure on the performance of AlGaAs-GaAs laser diodes with an InGaAs quantum well (QW) emitting around 1120 nm was investigated. With very thick waveguide layers, more than 95% of the output power is enclosed in an angle smaller than 35/spl deg/. This allows the use of fast axis collimators with a small numerical aperture. Broad area laser diodes with 100-μm stripe width, an optimized doping profile, and a double QW emit more than 12 W and show reliable operation at 5 W.