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In this paper, a design for low-driving-voltage InGaAlAs/InAlAs electroabsorption modulators (EAMs) operating at 40 Gb/s is described. The theoretical calculation clarified that the tensile-strained InGaAlAs/InAlAs multiquantum-well layers with thin wells provide large and steep extinction characteristics. This was experimentally confirmed. We modeled an EAM with a low-loss coplanar waveguide for both the input and output ports and designed an optimized core structure that assures a sufficient extinction ratio and electrical-to-optical bandwidth for 40-Gb/s operation, in terms of well number and core length. A fabricated device driven by a peak-to-peak voltage as low as 1.1 V shows a 3-dB bandwidth of over 50 GHz and an RF extinction ratio of 10 dB. Error-free operation at 40 Gb/s is confirmed.