High-power high-brightness tapered laser diodes emitting at 850 nm have been manufactured, and the nearly diffraction-limited beam quality has been achieved. The beam propagation factor M<sup>2</sup> is only 1.7 and the high brightness is up to 16.3 MW·cm<sup>-2</sup>·sr<sup>-1</sup> when the output power is 200 mW. The electro-optical properties of tapered lasers are also discussed. The results reported in this paper may become a step forward to new applications of tapered diode lasers.

© 2011 The Optical Society

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