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The effects of an AlAs layer with different positions and thicknesses on self-assembled InAs quantum dots (QDs) have been investigated by using transmission electron microscopy and photoluminescence (PL). The emission peak position of InAs QDs directly grown on an AlAs layer is blueshifted from that of InAs QDs grown on a GaAs layer without any significant loss of the QD qualities. However, the PL peak position of InAs QDs grown under an AlAs layer does not vary. This result is related to the high potential barrier, the reduced dot size, and the interdiffusion of Al atom at the InAs QDs during growing the InAs QDs on an AlAs layer.