This manuscript describes some of the new advances in active mid-infrared photonic integrated circuits enabled by new quantum cascade laser technologies. This includes monolithic beam steering which was achieved via the integration of a widely tunable QCL and a tapered grating outcoupler. A record 17.9 degrees of steering with a low divergence beam (0.5 degrees) was achieved. In addition, the use of surface emitting architectures is proposed as a means to reduce the manufacturing cost of next-generation QCLs. A reflective outcoupler is demonstrated which can allow for stable surface emission from a quantum cascade laser and has potential for cost-effective wafer-scale manufacturing. This outcoupler is integrated with an amplified, electrically tunable laser architecture to demonstrate high power surface emission at a wavelength near 4.9 μm. Single mode peak power up to 6.7 W is demonstrated with >6 W available over a 90 cm-1 (215 nm) spectral range. All of this is achieved while maintaining a high quality output beam, similar to a standard edge emitter.