A high strain two-stack, two-color, InGaAs/AlGaAs and AlGaAs/GaAs quantum well infrared photodetector for midwavelength infrared (MWIR) and long wavelength infrared (LWIR) detection has been demonstrated. Each stack is designed to have detection in one of the two atmospheric windows, 3–5 μm and 8–12 μm, respectively. The MWIR stack has employed 35% of indium in the InGaAs well, which not only achieved peak wavelength at 4.3 μm, but also obtained very high peak responsivity of Rp = 0.65 A/W, using 45° light coupling. Normal incidence without grating coupling also has high responsivity with 40%–50% in the MWIR stack and 35%–45% in the LWIR stack, respectively, compared with the 45° incidence. Despite the large in-plane compressive strain induced by the high indium concentration, the device is highly uniform and has very low dark current in the MWIR stack. The background limited temperature is 125 K for the MWIR stack with a cutoff wavelength λc = 4.6 μm, and is 70 K for the LWIR stack with λc = 10 μm. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.