A digital photoreceiver is formed monolithically on an InP semiconductor substrate and comprises a p-i-n photodetector formed from a plurality of InP/InGaAs layers deposited by an epitaxial growth process and an adjacent heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) amplifier formed from the same InP/InGaAs layers. The photoreceiver amplifier operates in a large-signal mode to convert a detected photocurrent signal into an amplified output capable of directly driving integrated circuits such as CMOS. In combination with an optical transmitter, the photoreceiver may be used to establish a short-range channel of digital optical communications between integrated circuits with applications to multi-chip modules (MCMs). The photoreceiver may also be used with fiber optic coupling for establishing longer-range digital communications (i.e. optical interconnects) between distributed computers or the like. Arrays of digital photoreceivers may be formed on a common substrate for establishing a plurality of channels of digital optical communication, with each photoreceiver being spaced by less than about 1 mm and consuming less than about 20 mW of power, and preferably less than about 10 mW. Such photoreceiver arrays are useful for transferring huge amounts of digital data between integrated circuits at bit rates of up to about 1000 Mb/s or more.