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We have calculated the intervalence band absorption loss coefficients of the active layer for InP-based long wavelength laser diodes lasing in the range of 1.2–1.55 μm. The calculated results show that, as the wavelength of laser diode becomes longer, the loss coefficient of the laser diode rapidly increases toward 1.55 μm, which coincides with the experimental data reported. We also describe the dependence of the loss coefficient on temperature. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.