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Terahertz (THz) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) are currently the most advanced electrically pumped semiconductor lasers in the spectral range 1-5 THz. However, their operation at room temperature is still an unresolved challenge. In this paper, we discuss our efforts to improve the temperature performance of these devices. In particular, we present THz QCLs that approach thermoelectric cooled operation and discuss factors that limit their high-temperature performance. We also discuss a different type of THz QCL source that produces coherent THz radiation without population inversion across the THz transition. These devices are based on intracavity difference-frequency generation in dual-wavelength mid-IR QCLs, and can now provide microwatt levels of coherent THz radiation up to room temperature. We discuss how the output power of these devices can be further improved to produce milliwatts of THz radiation at room temperature.