This paper presents theoretical and experimental results detailing the design and performance of arrayed waveguide grating (AWG) demultiplexers fabricated in silicon-on- insulator (SOI). The SOI waveguide is inherently multimode because of the high refractive index difference between Si and SiO2, although appropriate tailoring of the rib width to height ratio can be used to make single mode rib waveguides. This single mode condition cannot be met in the input and output combiner sections, which can therefore support many higher order modes. Modeling results demonstrate that coupling from a single mode ridge waveguide to the fundamental slab mode is typically two orders of magnitude larger than the coupling to higher modes. Hence the effect of multimode combiners on performance should be minimal. We also present calculations of bending losses which indicate that with a Si thickness of 1.5 micrometers , single mode rib waveguides can be made with radii of curvature as low as 200 micrometers . Such waveguides can also be made with zero birefringence. AWG devices were fabricated with 8 channels centered around (lambda) equals 1550 nm, and chip sizes less than 5 X 5 mm. The performance of these devices is compared with our modeling results.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.