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We investigate the electrical and optical properties of GaAs/AlAs superlattices (SLs) in which a thin (⩽1.2 monolayers) InAs layer is inserted in the central plane of each GaAs quantum well. The InAs layer modifies the structure of the SL unit cell and provides an additional design parameter for tailoring the energy of the lowest miniband and the size of the minigap. We exploit this effect to enhance electron injection from a doped contact layer into the first miniband and to inhibit interminiband coupling. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.