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We investigate the noise figure (NF) of high-power semiconductor InGaAsP optical amplifiers (SOAs) based on the slab-coupled optical waveguide (SCOW) concept having both ultralow optical confinement (Γ ~ 0.5%) and low optical loss (αi ~ 0.5 cm-1). At 1550 nm and 5-A current bias, the NF of SCOW amplifier (SCOWA) is 5.5 dB, and the small-signal gain and saturation output power are 13 dB and 0.8 W, respectively. A minimum NF of 4.5 dB is achieved at 2-A bias. These NF results represent the lowest reported for a packaged SOA. Using the measured NF, the population inversion factor (nsp) of the SCOWA was also estimated. The derived nsp values indicate that intervalence band absorption loss, carrier heating, and quasi-bound higher order modes may ultimately limit the noise performance of InGaAsP SOAs.