This thesis analyzes semiconductor optical amplifiers based slow and fast light effects with particular focus on the applications in microwave photonics. We conceive novel ideas and demonstrate a great enhancement of light slow down. Furthermore, by cascading several slow light stages, >360 degree microwave phase shifts over a bandwidth of several tens of gigahertz are achieved. These also satisfy the basic requirements of microwave photonic systems. As an application demonstration, a tunable microwave notch filter is realized, where slow light based phase shifters provide 100% fractional tuning over the whole free spectral range. Finally, the noise properties of the proposed slow light devices are investigated.