We have performed experimental and theoretical studies of the effects of inhomogeneous broadening on the luminescence properties of a self-assembled InAs quantum dot (QD) assembly. From atomic force microscopic (AFM) images the InAs QD assembly is found to have an average lateral size of 20–22 nm and a height of 10–12 nm, and the dot density is in the range of 1–2×1010 cm-2. Using the statistical distribution of the QD size from AFM measurements and the results from the theoretical analysis of the photoluminescene (PL) spectrum, it is found that the distance between QDs is larger than 30 nm (the average distance is about 100 nm), the penetration of the ground-state wave function into the GaAs barrier is negligible, and the calculated PL spectrum agrees well with that measured when the carriers in each QD are assumed to be at a local thermal equilibrium state, resulting in the conclusion that the QDs are physically independent. The width of the PL peak is determined by the inhomogeneous QD size. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.