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Several applications are pushing the development of high performance mode-locked lasers: generation of short pulses for extremely high bit rate transmission at 100 Gb/s and beyond, all-optical clock recovery at 40 Gb/s and beyond, generation of millimeter wave signals through mode-beating on a high speed photodiode, optical sampling for analog-to-digital conversion, and generation of wavelength-division-multiplexing channels. This paper will report on new advances in InP-based quantum dash mode-locked lasers, which largely surpass the performance of their bulk or quantum well counterparts in terms of the mode-beating spectral purity and the bandwidth of optical spectrum. In particular, we will describe the quantum dash nanostructures used for the mode-locked lasers and the dependence of the mode-locking properties on detailed quantum dash structures. We will demonstrate that these quantum dash lasers can be actively mode-locked, generating sub-picosecond or picosecond pulses at different repetition frequencies with extremely low timing jitter. They can also be used to achieve all-optical clock recovery, with timing jitter compliant with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards even for highly degraded input optical signal-to-noise ratio. Finally, we demonstrate that, owing to the very wide and flat optical spectrum and the low relative-intensity noise level of the mode-locked laser, error-free transmission over 50 km single mode fiber has been achieved for eight wavelength division multiplexing ITU channels at 10 Gb/s with a channel spacing of 100 GHz.