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We present a theoretical approach for the simulation of scanning local optical spectroscopy in disordered quantum wells (QWs). After a single realization of the disorder potential, we calculate spectra on a mesh of points on the QW plane, thus obtaining a three-dimensional matrix of data from which we construct two-dimensional spectroscopic images of excitons laterally localized at interface fluctuations. Our simulations are in close agreement with the experimental findings, and contribute to the interpretation of spatially resolved spectra in QWs. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.