An elastomeric grating coupler fabricated by the replica molding technique is used to measure the modal indices of a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) planar waveguide structure. Because of the van der Waals interaction between the grating mold and the waveguide, the elastomeric stamp makes conformal contact with the waveguide surface, inducing a periodic index perturbation at the contact region. The phase of the incident light is changed to match the guided modes of the waveguide. The modal and bulk indices are obtained by measuring the coupling angles. This technique serves to measure the high refractive index with a precision better than 10(-3) and allows the elastomeric stamp to be removed without damaging the surface of the waveguide.