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Fast recovery (≪200 ps) of an optical gate at room temperature in a GaAs étalon is observed by eliminating the top AlGaAs window and defining 9×9 μm2 pixels. This recovery time is at least an order of magnitude shorter than that for previous étalons consisting of AlGaAs/GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures. The fast recovery is attributed to faster surface recombination of carriers at the GaAs‐dielectric mirror interface as compared to that at a GaAs‐AlGaAs interface.