Real-space mapping of electronic orbitals
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Electronic states are responsible for most material properties, including chemical bonds, electrical and thermal conductivity, as well as optical and magnetic properties. Experimentally, however, they remain mostly elusive. Here, we report the real-space mapping of selected transitions between p and d states on the Ångström scale in bulk rutile (TiO2) using electron energy-loss spectrometry (EELS), revealing information on individual bonds between atoms. On the one hand, this enables the experimental verification of theoretical predictions about electronic states. On the other hand, it paves the way for directly investigating electronic states under conditions that are at the limit of the current capabilities of numerical simulations such as, e.g., the electronic states at defects, interfaces, and quantum dots.
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