The propagation of electromagnetic plane waves in an isotropic chiral medium is characterized, and a special interest is shown in chiral nihility and the effects of chirality on energy transmission. In particular, the wave impedance is matched to that of free space. Moreover, the refractive index n is also matched in impedance to that of free space when an appropriate value of the chirality is chosen. A “chiral nihility” medium is explored in which both the permittivity and the permeability tend to zero. Some specific case studies of chiral nihility are presented, and Brewster angles are found to cover an extremely wide range. The E-field distributions in these different cases where the chiral slab is placed in free space are analyzed by using the appropriate constitutive relations. It is shown from numerical calculations that one can obtain some critical characteristics of the effects of chirality on energy transmission and reflection, such as transparency and power tunneling.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 28, 2007
Revised Manuscript: October 19, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: October 22, 2007
Published: December 5, 2007
Cheng-Wei Qiu, Nawaz Burokur, Saïd Zouhdi, and Le-Wei Li, "Chiral nihility effects on energy flow in chiral materials," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 25, 55-63 (2008)