Planar waveguides in x-cut YVO4 crystals were produced by ion-implanted Si+ ions with energies from 2.6 to 3.0 MeV at doses of 1×1013-1.5×1014 ions/cm2. The number of propagation modes varied from 1 to 3 as the doses of the implanted ions increased. The effective refractive indices of all the observed waveguide modes were higher than the refractive index of the substrate, which meant an index-enhanced guiding layer with thickness of ∼2 μm formed to confine the light propagation. The minimum propagation loss of the measured YVO4 waveguide was 0.27 dB/cm after annealing under suitable conditions. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.