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We demonstrate a novel integrated optical disk readout head using a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) with an intracavity quantum-well absorber. Optical pickup detection is performed by measuring the change in the absorber voltage as optical feedback into the VCSEL cavity is varied. We obtain a 0.22-V peak-to-peak response with a RC time constant of 20 μs, indicating a rolloff frequency of 50 kHz. The unique design flexibility of this device allows amplification of the detection signal by operating the device in a bistable regime.