The present invention relates to a method and a device for modulating optical signals based on modulating bending losses in bend, quantum well semiconductor waveguide sections. The complex refractive index of the optical active semiconducting components of the waveguide section is modulated by applying a variable electric or electronmagnetic field. The modulation of the complex refractive index results in a modulation of the refractive index contrast and the absorption coefficient for the waveguide at the frequency of the light. By carefully adjusting the composition of the semiconducting components and the applied electric field in relation to the frequency of the modulated radiation, the bending losses (and possibly coupling losses) will provide extinction of light guided by the bent waveguide section. The refractive index contract may be modulated while keeping the absorption coefficient substantially constant and small, whereby the guided light can be modulated only by bending losses. Alternatively, the invention may be applied to enhance the extinction ratio of existing absorption modulators such as Electro-Absorption Modulators (EAMs) in which case extinction by absorption and extinction by bendng losses co-operates to provide more compact modulators with improved performance (extinction) and speed.