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Two-dimensional (2-D) photonic crystal (PC) directional couplers (DCs) that have a triangular lattice pattern of air holes in a planar dielectric slab are theoretically and experimentally analyzed. Unlike the 2-D PC DC structure with a dielectric rod in air, which is frequently used in theoretical studies, more practical PC DCs tend to be multimode in nature and exhibit a large group velocity dispersion, thus creating decoupling points in the dispersion relation without any additional modifications to the structure. The multimode nature and large dispersion lead to interference which degrades the coupling properties. By inserting three rows of air holes between neighboring line-defect waveguides in order to separate them, we have successfully reduced the multimode region and obtained a single-mode region. In this case, the large dispersion allows the creation of a PC DC with wavelength selectivity and a coupling length as short as 30 a,/spl sim/10 /spl mu/m for a=345 nm, where a is the lattice constant. The transmission spectra obtained experimentally showed good agreement with the theory whereas their transmission ranges were restricted to those of bent waveguides. These results are encouraging for practical application to optical communications.