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The object of the presented work is the excitation and propagation of plasmons along thin metal layers. The main focus is on plasmon excitation along electroless plated metal layers by utilizing a Kretschmann-Rather coupler, whose concept is shown in detail. Therefore an impedance model is presented for calculating the reflectivity of multilayer systems. With the Kretschmann-Rather coupler experimental results for the reflectivity of the analysed metal layers were obtained. Comparing the theoretically calculated reflectivity values with the experimental results the samples are characterised in terms of thickness, complex permittivity and scattering on both sides of the metal layer. The information gained from the extrapolation of the layer parameters provides a basis for the further development of a fibre optic biosensor.