With the rapid growth of the telecommunications industry over the last 5 to 10 years has come the need to solve ever more complex electromagnetic problems and to solve them more precisely than ever before. The basic EME (EigenMode Expansion) technique is a powerful method for calculation of electromagnetic propagation which has been well known amongst academic environments and also in microwave fields, representing the electromagnetic fields everywhere in terms of a basis set of local modes. It is at the same time a rigorous solution of Maxwell's Equations and is able to deal with very long structures. We discuss here progress that the authors and others have made recently in applying and extending it to integrated, fibre, and diffractive optics - including development of efficient ways of modelling tapers and other smoothly varying structures, new more efficient boundary conditions and improved mode finders. We outline the advantages it has over other techniques and also its limitations. We illustrate its application with a variety of real life examples, including diffractive elements, directional couplers, tapers, MMI's, bend modelling, periodic structures and others.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.