The gradual transformation of a guided TM00 mode into an "intermediate" double mode by a splitting junction has been investigated with a phase-sensitive photon scanning tunneling microscope. Field profiles and wave vectors of the modes have been directly determined from the phase information. Via a Fourier analysis of the measured phase and amplitude maps the decay of the TM00 mode and buildup of the intermediate mode have been directly visualized. Phase singularities and phase jumps in the transition region underline the mode transformation process. Finally, a partial polarization conversion of the TM modes to TE-polarized modes has been observed. (C) 2001 American Institute of Physics.