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InAs quantum dots (QDs) grown on GaAs surface are investigated. The observed abnormal photoluminescence (PL) properties, including extremely sharp high-energy peaks, almost temperature-independent linewidth, and fast thermal quenching, are discussed in terms of the strong quantum confinement effects due to the absence of a cap layer and the lack of carrier redistribution channel caused by the small number of QDs capable of contributing to PL and the high-density surface defects. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.