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This paper investigates the heat conduction behavior of a terahertz (THz) quantum-cascade laser (QCL) active region by measuring its temperature using in-situ microprobe band-to-band photoluminescence (PL) technique. The heat resistance of different regions in QCL structure is derived from the temperature measurement. Experimental results show that thinning the substrate from 300 mum thick to 140 mum lowers thermal resistance of the device by 21%, which helps achieving continuous-wave operation. A thermodynamic differential equation was numerically solved and the temperature profiles and thermal behavior of various regions within actively biased QCL devices under various conditions were obtained. The simulation confirms the measured results that the substrate accounts for 59% of the total device thermal resistance.