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We present an evanescent coupling method between a semiconductor antiresonant reflecting optical waveguide and a side-polished fiber and apply it to the design and fabrication of several hybrid fiber-semiconductor devices. Unique properties and advantages of these devices over conventional fiber-coupled modules are discussed in detail. Previous realizations of this coupling method have all been one-dimensional, as no lateral confinement mechanism was used. In this paper, we have successfully achieved great improvements in efficiency of coupling by implementing lateral confinement as well. In particular, we demonstrate the first side-coupled fiber semiconductor laser based on this technology, coupling more than 3 mW of power at 850 nm directly into a 5/125 mum single-mode fiber.