It is possible to obtain resolution of the order of 1–2 Å in the reflectance spectroscopy of powders by carefully controlling the experimental measuring techniques. One can then identify; optically, broad bands and narrow bands of the rare earths as being upper energy states and unperturbed 4<i>f</i> transitions. It is even possible to show various degrees of perturbation of 4<i>f</i> energy-states of a given rare-earth ion by observing Stark states which may vary from 5–90 Å in half-width. However lack of polarization data make positive identification of these Stark states impossible.

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