Methods of using an adiabatic Y-branch digital optical modulator provide a substantially chirp-free modulator by changing the refractive index of only a first output branch of the modulator in response to a modulating signal. A second output branch of the modulator, where no refractive index change is induced, is used as the modulator output. The frequency chirp in this Y-branch modulator is negligible because the modulator output waveguide branch experiences little or no refractive index change and, therefore, little or no phase shift in operation. Substantially all of the phase shift occurs in the waveguide branch where the refractive index change is induced. According to a further embodiment, one or both of the output branches are comprised of one or more tapered waveguide sections.