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Structural and optical properties of InAlAs/GaAlAs quantum dots grown by molecular beam epitaxy are studied using transmission electron microscopy and temperature- and time-resolved photoluminescence. The control of the recombination lifetime (50 ps-1.25 ns) and of the dot density (5.10–8-2.1011 cm–3) strongly suggest that these material systems can find wide applications in opto-electronic devices as focusing non-linear dispersive materials as well as fast saturable absorbers.