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We fabricated refractive semiconductor microlenses using a diffusion-limited chemical etching technique based an Br/sub 2/ solution. The simple one-step wet etching process produced high-quality microlenses of GaAs and InP, the two most popular compound semiconductor materials used in optoelectronics. A spherical GaAs microlens with a nominal lens diameter of 30 /spl mu/m exhibited a radius of curvature and focal length of 91 and 36 /spl mu/m, respectively. The surface roughness, examined by atomic force microscopy (AFM), was measured to be below /spl plusmn/10 /spl Aring/. This microlens fabrication method should be readily applicable due to the simplicity in processing and the high-quality results.