The distorted CuO6 octahedron in La2CuO4 was studied using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy at atomic resolution. The near-edge structure in the oxygen K-edge electron energy-loss spectrum was recorded as a function of the position of the electron probe. After background subtraction, the measured spectrum image was processed using a recently developed inversion process to remove the mixing of signals on the atomic columns due to elastic and thermal scattering. The spectra were then compared with first-principles band structure calculations based on the local-density approximation plus on-site Coulomb repulsion (LDA + U) approach. In this article, we describe in detail not only anisotropic chemical bonding of the oxygen 2p state with the Cu 3d state but also with the Cu 4p and La 5d/4f states. Furthermore, it was found that buckling of the CuO2 plane was also detectable at the atomic resolution oxygen K-edge. Lastly, it was found that the effects of core-hole in the O K-edge were strongly dependent on the nature of the local chemical bonding, in particular, whether it is ionic or covalent.
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