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Tapered diode lasers in the red spectral range with nearly diffraction-limited output are prospective light sources for display applications and analytic methods such as fluorescence microscopy. The authors have studied the influence of the number of quantum wells and the lateral design of 660 nm high-power tapered diode lasers on the output power and the beam quality. From these investigations the authors have developed an optimised design and achieved a record output power of 1.5 W with a beam quality close to the diffraction limit (M2(1/e2)=1.5). The authors also demonstrate operation over 4500=h at power levels between 0.5 and 1.0=W.