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We study experimentally and numerically the electromagnetic resonances in split ring resonators (SRRs), around 1 GHz. For an individual SRR, we show that both electric and magnetic fields can induce resonances, the magnetic one being the strongest. The utilization of such resonant structures as efficient microwave filter is also demonstrated. The coupling between two or more SRRs can be quite complex and strongly depends on their geometrical arrangement. For small separation distances, very strong coupling, leading to sharp resonances with high quality factors are observed. In that case a magnetic field circulation which connects neighboring elements is established. The practical implications of these results for the fabrication of a left-handed metamaterial are discussed. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.