Hot electron light emission and lasing in semiconductor heterostructure (Hellish) devices are surface emitters the operation of which is based on the longitudinal injection of electrons and holes in the active region. These devices can be designed to be used as vertical cavity surface emitting laser or, as in this study, as a vertical cavity semiconductor optical amplifier (VCSOA). This study investigates the prospects for a Hellish VCSOA based on GaInNAs/GaAs material for operation in the 1.3-mu m wavelength range. Hellish VCSOAs have increased functionality, and use undoped distributed Bragg reflectors; and this coupled with direct injection into the active region is expected to yield improvements in the gain and bandwidth. The design of the Hellish VCSOA is based on the transfer matrix method and the optical field distribution within the structure, where the determination of the position of quantum wells is crucial. A full assessment of Hellish VCSOAs has been performed in a device with eleven layers of Ga(0.35)In(0.65)N(0.02)As(0.08)/GaAs quantum wells (QWs) in the active region. It was characterised through I-V, L-V and by spectral photoluminescence, electroluminescence and electro-photoluminescence as a function of temperature and applied bias. Cavity resonance and gain peak curves have been calculated at different temperatures. Good agreement between experimental and theoretical results has been obtained.