Thermo-optic switching elements made of dielectric-loaded plasmonic (DLSPP) waveguides are theoretically investigated by utilizing the three-dimensional vector finite element method. The configurations considered employ microring resonators, whose resonant frequency is varied by means of thermal tuning. First, a classic add-drop filter with parallel access waveguides is examined. Such a component features very poor drop port extinction ratio (ER). We therefore extend the analysis to add-drop filters with perpendicular access waveguides, which are found to exhibit superior drop port ERs, due to interference effects associated with the drop port transmission. In the process, the performance of a DLSPP waveguide crossing is also assessed, since it is a building block of those filters whose bus waveguides intersect. An elliptic tapering scheme is proposed for minimizing cross talk and its effect on the filter performance is explored. The dual-resonator add-drop filter with perpendicular bus waveguides and an untreated waveguide crossing of Sec. V can act as an efficient 2×2 switching element (the single-resonator variant can only act as a 1×2 switch due to structure asymmetry), possessing two equivalent input ports and featuring high ERs for both output ports over a broad wavelength range. Specifically, an extinction ratio of at least 8 dB can be attained for both output ports over a wavelength range of 3.2 nm, accommodating four 100-GHz-spaced channels. Switching times are in the order of a few microseconds, rendering the aforementioned structure capable of handling real-world routing scenarios.

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