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# The Zilch Electromagnetic Conservation Law Revisited

preprint

posted on 2023-11-30, 18:16 authored by Sajad Aghapour, Lars Andersson, Kjell RosquistIt is shown that the zilch conservation law arises as the Noether current corresponding to a variational symmetry of a duality-symmetric Maxwell Lagrangian. The action of the corresponding symmetry generator on the duality-symmetric Lagrangian, while non-vanishing, is a total divergence as required by the Noether theory. The variational nature of the zilch conservation law was previously known only for some of the components of the zilch tensor, notably the optical chirality. By contrast, our analysis is fully covariant and is therefore valid for all components of the zilch tensor. The analysis is presented here for both real and complex versions of duality-symmetric Maxwell Lagrangians.