Self-assembled In0.9Ga0.1As, In0.9Al0.1As, and InAs quantum dots (QD) were fabricated in an InAlAs matrix lattice-matched to an InP substrate by molecular beam epitaxy. Preliminary characterizations were performed using transmission electron microscopy, photoluminescence, and reflection high-energy electron diffraction. Experimental results reveal clear differences in QD formation, size distribution, and luminescence between the InAs and In-0.9(Ga/Al)(0.1)As samples, which show the potential of introducing ternary compositions to adjust the structural and optical properties of QDs on an InP substrate. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0021-8979(00)10213-0].