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Multilayer thin-film waveguides (MTFWs) are analyzed using the beam-propagation method based on Yee's mesh. The birefringence properties of the MTFW are demonstrated by the eigenmode analysis based on the imaginary-distance procedure. Taking advantage of the birefringence, a polarization splitter composed of two parallel MTFWs is proposed. Calculation shows that a short device length of 270 mum is obtainable with crosstalks of -33.5 dB for the quasi-transverse-electric mode and -20.7 dB for the quasi-transverse-magnetic mode. A crossing-type polarization splitter is also developed, and the device length is further reduced to 120 mum.