The numerical study of plasmonic optical objects is of great importance in the context of massive integration of light processing devices on a very small surface. A wide range of nanoobjects are currently under study in the scientific community like stripe waveguides, Bragg's mirrors, resonators, couplers or filters. One important step is the efficient coupling of a macroscopic external field into a nanodevice, that is the injection of light into a subwavelength metallic waveguide. In this article we highlight the problem of the excitation of a surface plasmon polariton wave on a gold-air interface by a diffraction grating. Our calculations are performed using the Green's function formalism. This formalism allows us to calculate the field diffracted by any structure deposited on the surface of a prism, or a multilayered system, for a wide range of illumination fields (plane wave, dipolar field, focused gaussian beam, ...). In the first part we optimize a finite grating made of simple objects deposited on or engaved in the metal with respect to the geometrical parameters. In order to optimize the performances of this device, we propose to use a pattern of resonant particles studied in the second part, and show that a composite dielectric/metallic particle can resonate in presence of a metallic surface and can be tuned to a specific wavelength window by changing the dielectric part thickness.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.