We present an experimental study of guiding and routing of electromagnetic radiation along the nanometer-thin and micrometer-wide gold stripes embedded in a polymer via excitation of long-range surface plasmon polaritons (LR-SPPs) in a very broad wavelength range from 1000 to 1650 mn. For straight 14-nm-thick stripes and a wavelength of 1550 urn, LR-SPP propagation loss is determined for the stripe widths varying from 2 to 12 mu m and is found to be similar to 7 and 5 dB/cm for 10- and 4-mu m-wide stripes, respectively. For the directional couplers based on 14-nm-thick and 8-mu m-wide gold stripes and a wavelength of 1570 nm, the coupling lengths of 4.1, 1.9, and 0.8 mm are found for the respective waveguide separations of 8, 4, and 0 mu m. We model the LR-SPP-based directional couplers using the effective-refractive-index method and obtain a good agreement with the experimental results. The transmission spectra of LR-SPP-based directional couplers are presented demonstrating an efficient (similar to 30 dB) separation of different telecom wavelength bands. Various possibilities for dynamic control of wavelength division/multiplexing with LRSPP-based directional couplers that utilize the thermo-optic effect in the polymer cladding are also discussed.
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