A key parameter for the choice of an erbium-doped material suitable for efficient amplification around 1.55 μm is its ability to isolate Er ions from each other in order to increase the quenching concentration and henceforth to improve pumping efficiency. Encapsulation of Er ions by organic ligands results in quenching concentrations about a few % in a polymer matrix and may therefore induce high gain values at 1.55 μm. In this paper, we report on the elaboration and optical characterization of Erbium complex-doped PMMA thin films and waveguides with different concentrations by spin-coating technique. Refractive index of these thin films and etching conditions for waveguide fabrication are carefully investigated. Strong gain coefficient values (up to 9 cm-1) measured by Amplified Spontaneous Emission are reported at 1.55 μm under 980 nm cw pumping of an erbium-complex-doped PMMA film. A multifunctional polymer material containing an erbium complex together with an electric-field oriented nonlinear optical (NLO) chromophore is shown to simultaneously display good IR gain properties and quadratic NLO response, then qualifying this approach for in-situ amplification of active electro-optic devices for optical signal processing. Rib waveguides made of erbium-doped PMMA have been elaborated using standard lithographic and reactive ionic etching techniques. Gain and loss measurements of these waveguides are characterized for single mode propagation of signal (1.55 μm) and pump (980 nm) waves, and compared to predictions from beam propagation method modelization.