We discuss the design of weakly guided multimode interference (MMI) devices using a genetic algorithm. For devices exhibiting a nonnegligible vertical waveguide offset, such as those produced using ion exchange in glass, three-dimensional modeling is required to properly evaluate the device performance. A combination of semivectorial finite difference modeling in two transverse dimensions and mode propagation analysis (MPA) in the propagation direction is used to evaluate the merit of each trial design. An example is provided of a 1×4 power splitter designed for ion exchange, which shows considerable improvement over that obtained by self-imaging theory.
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