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Detailed near-field scanning optical microscopy studies of GaAs/AlGaAs V-grooved quantum wire lasers at room temperature were performed. We measured the spectrally resolved near-field intensity distributions, emitted from the complex epitaxially grown optical waveguide in the V groove with a spatial resolution of ∼0.1 μm. Distinct regions emitting at different wavelengths were identified, and a heart shaped modal distribution of less than 0.5 μm in diameter was measured and well matched the calculated light distribution of this structure. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.