Low-attenuation waveguides based on the propagation of long-range surface plasmon polaritons (LRSPPs) along thin Au stripes embedded in low absorption perfluorocyclobutane (PFCB) polymer are presented. A new low in propagation loss of was achieved for a wide waveguide by optimizing the cladding material and fabrication process. The coupling efficiency between the LRSPP waveguide and the optical fiber is studied theoretically and experimentally for different widths of Au stripes and various cladding thicknesses. Lower coupling loss is found when the cladding thickness is close to the mode diameter of the butt-coupled fiber. Based on the 2D distribution of SPP modes calculated by a finite-difference mode solver, a symmetric structure of multilayer claddings with different refractive indices is proposed to optimize device insertion loss.
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