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Bottom-emitting vertical-cavity surface-emitting InGaAs MQW lasers operating in the 980-nm wavelength regime have been designed for high continuous-wave optical output power. Devices of 200-μm active diameter and optimized performance reach 350-mW maximum output power when mounted on a heat sink. 50-μm-size lasers produce 100 mW at 25% electrical to optical power conversion efficiency. Thermal properties and size dependent basic characteristics are investigated in detail.