Quantized high-frequency (∼1016 Hz) correlated longitudinal electron excitations (plasmons) generated in the energy-loss range 0–50 eV by fast electrons passing through any solid enable one to probe various states of matter. Their energy, Ep, is directly related to the density of valence electrons, thus allowing determination of solid-state properties that are governed by ground-state densities. Universal features and scaling in relations between Ep and the cohesive energy per atomic volume, bonding electron density and elastic constants have been established. The resulting correlations follow the universal binding energy relationship, thus providing new insights into the fundamental nature of structure-property relationships. They allow direct in situ determination of local material properties in an analytical electron microscope, as illustrated by examples utilizing Al- and Ti-based structural alloys.
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