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The modification of quantum well inter-sub-band absorption properties due to surface depletion induced band bending is reported. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy measurements of a GaAs/AlAs multiple quantum well system reveal a reduction in the characteristic absorption resonance in correlation with wet chemical etching. High resolution transmission electron microscopy confirms the presence of the quantum wells after etching, suggesting the quantum wells are positioned within the surface depletion region of the structure. This method of inter-sub-band absorption modification could be used for the formation of quantum dots from a quantum well system with the precise, deterministic control of their location.