Optical helicity density is usually discussed for monochromatic electromagnetic fields in free space. It plays an important role in the interaction with chiral molecules or nanoparticles. Here we introduce the optical helicity density in a dispersive isotropic medium. Our definition is consistent with biorthogonal Maxwell electromagnetism in optical media and the Brillouin energy density as well as with the recently introduced canonical momentum and spin of light in dispersive media. We consider a number of examples, including electromagnetic waves in dielectrics, negative-index materials, and metals, as well as interactions of light in a medium with chiral and magnetoelectric molecules.
- Negative Refraction