Metal-Dielectric Plasmonic Waveguides for Ultra-Long Range Optical Wave Propagation

Metal-Dielectric Plasmonic Waveguides for Ultra-Long Range Optical Wave Propagation

Docket: UAH-P-06017


Researchers at UAH have developed a new surface plasmonic waveguide structure that allows coupled optical waves to be guided and propagated for ultra-long ranges up to 100 cm along metallic micro-strips. This significant scientific advancement changes the classical view that light cannot propagate macroscopic distances along metal wires.

The technology allows the transmission of signals up to optical frequencies using metallic micro-strips rather than traditional dielectric waveguides such as optical fibers. Thus, it allows for the fabrication of metallic photonic circuits which have the capability of carrying bandwidths up to 300 TeraHz (300,000 GHz). This is several orders of magnitude higher than that of the conventional circuit boards which currently operate below 100 GHz. The plasmonic circuit is able to transmit optical and electrical signals simultaneously, making it superior to both traditional optical waveguides and metallic wires.

These light-carrying, metal micro-strips will also allow a large number of biological and chemical sensors with higher sensitivities to be integrated on a small chip. With the new surface plasmonic waveguides, light can be confined into a single spot below the diffraction limit (half the wavelength approximately), therefore increasing the energy density.

The metal-dielectric plasmonic waveguides developed at UAH can be manufactured with circular-shaped cross sections using the conventional fabrication techniques. As such, metallic cables capable of carrying optical signals can be easily manufactured.


  • Circuit boards and computer components with ultra-high bandwidths
  • Biochemical sensors with increased integration and enhanced sensitivities
  • Micro-strips for transmitting optical and electrical signals


  • Allows optical waves to propagate macroscopic distances along metal micro-strips
  • Can simultaneously carry electrical current and optical waves
  • Waveguides with circular and square cross sections can be easily fabricated


  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented