An optical switch based on liquid-crystal (LC) tunable long-range metal stripe waveguides is proposed and theoretically investigated. A nematic liquid crystal layer placed between a vertical configuration consisting of two gold stripes is shown to allow for the extensive electro-optic tuning of the coupler's waveguiding characteristics. Rigorous liquid-crystal switching studies are coupled with the investigation of the optical properties of the proposed plasmonic structure, taking into account different excitation conditions and the impact of LC-scattering losses. A directional coupler optical switch is demonstrated, which combines low power consumption, low cross-talk, short coupling lengths, along with sufficiently reduced insertion losses.

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