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We have grown Er,O-codoped InGaAs/GaAs multiple-quantum-well (MQW:Er,O) structures by low-pressure organometallic vapor phase epitaxy (OMVPE), and investigated their luminescence properties. The MQW structures are designed to emit light at 0.98 μm for direct excitation of Er ions. Degradation of the structures due to introduction of Er and oxygen is not observed in x-ray diffraction patterns. Er ions doped with oxygen exhibit a sharp and well-ordered photoluminescence spectrum predominantly from one kind of Er center (Er-2O center). Photoluminescence excitation measurements on MQW:Er,O and Er,O-codoped GaAs samples reveal that under below-GaAs-band-gap excitation (830–940 nm), the Er-related luminescence is observed only in the MQW:Er,O sample. It indicates that the luminescence originates from Er ions in InGaAs QWs by means of trap-mediated excitation process. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.