Document and Entity Information - shares
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2016
Nov. 03, 2016
Document And Entity Information    
Entity Registrant Name Applied Optoelectronics, Inc.  
Entity Central Index Key 0001158114  
Document Type 10-Q  
Document Period End Date Sep. 30, 2016  
Amendment Flag false  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Is Entity a Well-known Seasoned Issuer? No  
Is Entity a Voluntary Filer? No  
Is Entity's Reporting Status Current? Yes  
Entity Filer Category Accelerated Filer  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   17,198,121
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q3  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2016