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An electron source generates primary electrons of several keV energy that are impinging on a sample surface. The electrons are inelastically scattered by excitations of Phonons, Plasmons and Intra- and Interband excitations.

These electrons are detected by an electron analyzer. While the phonons are not detected, plasmon excitation is dominating the loss spectrum. But also inter- and intraband-excitations are found in the spectrum. These losses contain detailed information on the electronic structure, but also on the charge carrier density.