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We report results of two-dimensional (2D) local voltage measurement of the transverse cross section of operating multiquantum-well ridge-waveguide (RWG) lasers. We observe lateral nonuniformity of local voltage in the n-cladding layers of the laser and attribute the voltage variation to 2D carrier transport effect within the RWG lasers. The quantitative evaluation of this effect indicates the local vertical current density to be ∼40% smaller at the edge of the ridge than at its center. Our results demonstrate the strength and application of scanning voltage microscopy technique in quantitatively delineating 2D current flow in operating optoelectronic devices. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.