The influence of two monolayer - thick AlAs under- and overlayers on the formation and properties of self-assembled InAs quantum dots (QDs) has been studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and photoluminescence (PL). Single sheets of InAs QDs were grown inside a 2ML/8ML AlAs/GaAs short-period superlattice with various combinations of under- and overlayers. It was found that 2.4ML InAs QDs with GaAs underlayer and 2ML AlAs overlayer exhibited the lowest QD surface density of 4.2x1010 cm-2 and the largest QD lateral size of about 19 nm as compared to the other combinations of cladding layers. This InAs QD ensemble has also shown the highest room temperature PL intensity with a peak at 1210 nm and the narrowest linewidth, 34 meV. Fabricated edge-emitting lasers using triple layers of InAs QDs with AlAs overlayer demonstrated 120 A/cm2 threshold current density and 1230 nm emission wavelength at room temperature. Excited state QD lasers have shown high thermal stability of threshold current up to 130°C.