OCC TECH NEWS
September 4, 2014
If you're a Mac or Linux gamer and a fan of the Tropico series and/or city-building strategy simulations, you'll be pleased to know that Tropico 5 will be arriving on said platforms September 19 via Steam and the Mac App Store. If you already own the game on Steam, then you'll gain access to these versions for free. Best of all, Tropico 5 features cross-platform multiplayer via SteamPlay for up to four players, along with Big Picture Mode and controller support.
Tropico 5 was publisher Kalypso's most pre-ordered game in the history of the company.
Source: Press Release
It's been over a month since Focus Home Interactive published a video for the infiltration RPG Styx: Master of Shadows, but that changes today with a video entitled "Assassin's Green". Today's video is the first of a series of gameplay trailers Focus Home will be releasing over the coming weeks until the October release of the game. As the name implies, this new video shows various methods titular protagonist Styx can employ to assassinate his foes.
Styx: Master of Shadows will arrive on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this October, but no specific date has been announced.
Source: Press Release
Modern electronics are based on the charge of electrons, but in the future devices that operate on another property, called spin, could become the new standard. Spin is not as easy to work with though, as special materials and conditions can be required to do so. Researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz and others from around the world however have discovered how to create a spin-charge converter with gallium arsenide (GaAs) that operates at room temperature.
Part of what makes working with spin difficult is that magnetic fields are often required, as opposed to electric fields. A spin-charge converter is able to convert charge currents to spin currents and back, which would allow electric fields to be used. The catch is that previously only platinum, a rare heavy metal, had been identified as a viable material for creating a converter. By discovering that GaAs can also be used, spintronics are significantly closer to reality.
As it turns out, the advantages of GaAs are not limited to being cheaper and already widely used. The researchers found that it is possible to tune the efficiency of the converter and move the spin currents between different lanes, by varying the strength of the applied electric field.
Source: Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
We have just a couple of items for you to look over on this Thursday, but both should be rather interesting. First up is a look at the ASUS X99-DELUXE motherboard, which is an ethusiast motherboard for those looking to run Intel's new Haswell-E chips. If things like 5-way optimization, Crystal Sound audio, 802.11ac wireless, and plenty more are what you desire, then perhaps this board will do the trick. Our other item for the day is a review on the Western Digital My Passport Wireless, a WiFi enabled portable hard drive that packs 2x2 N MIMO antennas for up to four simultaneous HD streams, plus an SD card offload, USB 3.0 fast charge, and a host of other features.
ASUS X99-DELUXE @ Benchmark Reviews
Western Digital My Passport Wireless @ PC Perspective
September 3, 2014
Google has announced a partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara with the goal of building "new quantum information processors." Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence team will be working with UCSB researchers led by physicist John Martinis, who recently won the London Prize for work in the field. The Google team is currently "studying the application of quantum optimization to difficult problems in Artificial Intelligence." Google director of engineering Hartmut Neven described the partnership saying, "With an integrated hardware group the Quantum AI team will now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimization and inference processors based on recent theoretical insights as well as our learnings from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture." Google hopes to develop an advanced artificial intelligence system that will be capable of solving advanced problems and analyzing complex patterns.
Source: PC Magazine
It was recently revealed that the founder of the Consumer Electronics Show, Jack Wayman, died over the weekend at the age of 92 from natural causes. The first CES was organized by Wayman in 1967 when he was part of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and featured 100 exhibitors and 17,000 attendees. The event has since grown to 3,600 exhibitors and 160,000 attendees. Wayman was also involved in the Sony-Betamax case which "paved the way for the introduction of breakthrough technologies," was elected to the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, and received the Electronics Industries Association Distinguished Service Medal. CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said, "Jack’s contributions to our association and our industry are numerous and momentous. We stand on his shoulders. From leading the creation of the association that eventually became CEA to founding the International CES to leading the fight for critical legislative and public policy victories that helped drive industry growth, Jack truly was one of the fathers of the contemporary CE industry."
Source: Press Release
When Ubisoft unveiled the Watch Dogs Season Pass, the highlight was undoubtedly the inclusion of a new single-player campaign that put players in control of eccentric hacker T-Bone. Today, Ubisoft unveiled that said DLC, entitled Watch Dogs Bad Blood, will be released to Season Pass holders on September 23 and available for purchase for all other players on September 30. Bad Blood takes place shortly after the events of the main campaign, and "explores T-Bone's story through 10 new missions set in new locations throughout Chicago." As T-Bone, you'll have access to exclusive weapons, perks, and outfits, including the remote-controlled car "Eugene", which can be upgraded with offensive and defensive perks. Oh, and you'll be able to play as T-Bone in the online modes "Hacking" and "Tailing", as well as the ctOS Companion app.
In addition to the new story campaign, Bad Blood introduces "Street Sweep" contracts, "a dynamic new system of side missions that offers players endless hours of challenges." All Street Sweep contracts can be tackled solo or in two-player co-op, a first for the game.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
In an effort to prevent attacks that involve invalid SSL/TSL certificates, Firefox 32 has incorporated Public Key Pinning. According to Sid Stamm, the senior manager of security and privacy engineering at Mozilla, key pinning allows website operators to specify which Certificate Authorities are able to issue valid certificates. Within Firefox 32, a normal lock icon will be displayed if a certificate is able to be matched with a pinned certificate. If the certificate cannot be verified, Firefox will reject the connection with a pinning error. This provides an additional layer of security for Firefox users by preventing connections to illegitimate website, in which a hacker could intercept critical data.
The first stage of pinning roll-out includes protection for Mozilla sites and Twitter, while later Firefox versions will include protection for Google sites, Tor, Dropbox, and others.
Source: Mozilla Security Blog
Everybody is stressed at some point and for some reason, and how we manage that stress can be very important for our health. To help reduce stress, researchers at the University of Southampton have created an Android app to see if managing notifications can help manage stress.
The app is named Healthy Mind and will periodically provide the user with a notification about stress management, and, if opened, will provide more information. Exactly when the notification will appear is based on time of day, physical activity, and location, which is data the app monitors. The app is currently available on the Google Play store in the My Life Guide Toolbox and those who install it will be asked to join the five month study. For those that agree, they will be placed into one of three groups. One group will receive up to three notifications a day, based on the collected data, while the other two groups will receive one a day from 5 PM to 8 PM, or two a week, again from 5 PM to 8 PM.
Part of the thinking behind this app and study is that most people who are stressed do not seek professional help, but have their smartphones with them constantly. By leveraging the technology at our fingertips, the researchers hope to help people with stress.
Source: University of Southampton
HyperX, the high-performance product division of Kingston Technology, has recently announced HyperX Savage memory which replaces HyperX Genesis memory. This latest memory by HyperX features a low-profile design as well as a unique, red aluminum die-cast heat spreader with a diamond cut finish. While HyperX Savage memory is aesthetically appealing, it also boasts unparalleled performance. HyperX Savage is available in high-speed frequencies including 1600MHz, 1866MHz, 2133MHz and 2400MHz, and features timings of CL9 and CL11.
HyperX Savage memory is available immediately for purchase in 4GB and 8GB single modules, as well as 8GB to 32GB dual-channel or quad-channel kits, and comes with a lifetime warranty and free technical support.
Source: Press Release
If you're a smartphone user who doesn't have an unlimited data plan, but who loves to check Facebook constantly, you may want to keep reading. By default, videos in your Newsfeed play automatically when they get into view. This isn't much of a problem when browsing on a PC, but when browsing on your phone, such an action can quickly wrack up the data usage if you're on 3G/4G instead of Wi-Fi. Many mobile phone users have reported data overage charges and are blaming this Facebook feature, especially because of the influx of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos over the past couple months.
Thankfully, auto-play can be set to only activate when on Wi-Fi or even disabled completely. For iOS devices, go to Settings > Facebook > Settings, and then select either "Auto-play only on Wi-Fi" or "Off". For Android devices, go to your Facebook account Settings > App Settings, and then under General Settings select between those same two options.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, users who feel they've been hit with unfair overage charges should contact their mobile provider explaining the situation and asking for a refund. "If this doesn't work, you can take your complaint to the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) or to the Ombudsman Services – which one depends on who your provider is signed up to."
NZXT, a leading manufacturer of computer cases and accessories, has officially introduced the Source 340, or S340. While the case is perfect for value oriented consumers, it manages to boast plenty of premium offerings, such as an all steel construction with extra thick side panels, filtered intakes, and a power supply shroud. Plenty of cable management options are available as well, as the case features twenty cable management points, and the unique interior layout of the NZXT S340 ensures that its compact size provides nothing short of absolute efficiency. Connectivity wise, the S340 comes with two USB 3.0 ports as well as HD audio.
The NZXT S340 is available in glossy black and glossy white and can be purchased immediately from the NZXT Armory Store for $69.99.
Source: Press Release
Frogshark, a three-person independent game studio based in New Zealand, has revealed its debut game Swordy, and it's quite the visual spectacle. According to the studio, "Swordy is a tribal couch-multiplayer physics based brawler." As seen in the PAX AUS Announcement Trailer below, up to four players slam, bash, slice, punch, throw, block, and stab their way to victory with various oversized weaponry. Of course, with a name like Swordy, there are swords, but the trailer also shows giant hammers and maces. Frogshark states that the game features "expressive local-multiplayer fun, fluid and weighty physics based combat, realistic exploding flaming weapons, and beautiful low poly art." Oh, and when you kill someone, they explode in a shower of colorful pixely goodness.
Swordy will be shown off at PAX Australia, taking place October 31 thru November 2 in Melbourne, VC. Frogshark has not announced what platforms the game will be coming to, nor a release date, but the game is being made in Unity, so a PC version is highly likely. Be sure to check out the screenshots below! This looks like the type of game you lose friends over!
Source: Official Site via PC Gamer
Lian Li has announced its new PC-V1000L Special Edition full tower chassis. The new case is made of brushed aluminum and supports motherboards up to E-ATX and 9 removable HDD bays, with room for two 2.5" or one 3.5" drive behind the motherboard, if you still need more storage. Naturally it also sports four USB 3.0 ports and HD audio connections on the front I/O panel. The ventilated front has room for three 120 mm fanes, which are mounted to a removable bracket for easy access. The bottom of the case has another removable bracket for another two 120 mm fans or a 240 mm radiator. Similarly the top panel can also hold that hardware, two 140 mm, or a 240 mm radiator. The back panel has room for a 120 mm exhaust fan and two grommeted holes. For easy transport, the chassis has a set of wheels on the bottom, and a locking mechanism for the back two.
There will be three versions of the case, one that is silver, one black, and one black with a window. The MSRP will be $345 and $389, depending on the version and will be available soon at Newegg.
Source: Lian Li
Mushkin, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance computer innovations and solutions, has just launched a new lineup of unbuffered DDR4 "Essentials" modules. All Mushkin DDR4 Essentials modules and kits ship with a speed of 2133MHz (PC4-17000) at a latency of 15-15-15-35, while only requiring 1.2 volts (a 20% improvement over DDR3). They are available from 4GB to 32GB in the following configurations: 4GB, 8GB, 2x4GB, 4x4GB, 2x8GB, and 4x8GB.
Mushkin's DDR4 Essentials modules will be available in limited quantities mid-September, with full production volumes available in Q4. For more information, visit the DDR4 Products Page.
Source: Presss Release
Last month, publisher Paradox Interactive unveiled a new single-player, story-driven real-time strategy game called Ancient Space. Today, Paradox published a new video narrated by several members of developer CreativeForge Games, which shows off the gameplay for the first time. Ancient Space is a space RTS with full 3D movement on all three axes and smooth zooming. The video also shows off the ship upgrade/equip screen, which allows players to customize their ships based on their needs. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, but don't take my word for it, watch for yourself:
Ancient Space is launching September 23 for PC (Windows and Mac) via Steam for a mere $19.99. It's currently available for pre-order on the Paradox store for a 10% discount, bringing it down to $17.99.
Source: Press Release
In general, things are easier to manage when they are not moving but getting things to stop is not always that easy. This is as true of quantum mechanical particles as it is cars and children on a sugar-high, but you cannot grab onto a molecule and hold it still. Researchers at Northwestern University though, have found a way to start the tumbling of molecules, which could have implications for future quantum computers.
Over the decades, researchers have gotten pretty good at controlling atoms, but larger, more complex molecules are a different matter. Typically when you trap molecules, they will continue to rotate as though they were still freely moving, and some methods to stop them require cryostats to bring the temperature down to nearly absolute zero. The Northwestern researchers have instead developed a broadband laser that can stop a molecule in a fraction of a second. The key was in selecting the correct frequencies to cool the aluminum monohydride molecule down to just 4 K and its ground state, from room temperature. Shining a laser on molecules may not seem like a way to reduce the molecules' energy, but because of how the light frequencies interact with molecules, it is possible.
This new and elegant solution for bringing molecules to their ground state will likely see some use in quantum computing, but it does have other applications. Ultracold quantum-controlled chemistry could use the ability to control molecular rotors like this, and ground-state molecules could be used for testing if fundamental constants are constant throughout time.
We have come to the middle of the week, with a nice selection of items to keep you occupied. There is another review on the AMD FX-8370E processor, which is the company's newest refresh of the FX lineup, and one that looks to deliver a pretty nice package. We also have a look at the Scythe Mugen MAX CPU cooler, a rather large model that just may be able to help keep those new AMD and Intel processors from burning a hole in the motherboard. Nokia's Lumia 930 gets put to the test to see how it stacks up to the competition, and considering it's basically the international version of the Lumia Icon, it should do quite well. Lastly one of our affiliates is raising money for a local children's hospital, so please do what you can to support them.
AMD FX-8370E @ Benchmark Reviews
Scythe Mugen MAX @ ThinkComputers
Nokia Lumia 930 @ TechSpot
LanOC to raise money for Parkview Children's Hospital @ LanOC Reviews
September 2, 2014
Another contest is going down, as ECS USA is launching a "Design Your Own LIVA" competition running from now until the end of September. Participants have to take the ECS LIVA system and design their own artwork that will fit on it. The LIVA is a Mini PC with 118x70x55mm dimensions, so it's incredibly small and compact, yet surprisingly powerful thanks to its Intel Bay Trail-M CPU. It is a small area you'll be working with, but it just means an endless amount of possibilities for what you can put on it. All entries have to show a front and back side view, a left and right side view, a 45 degree view, and a 3D view, along with whichever view gives the best look at your artwork.
Once your entries are submitted to ECS by September 30, the top ten with the most "likes" on Facebook move onto the next round, where you turn your artwork into reality. The top ten are given a white LIVA case to put their artwork on, and must take photos of that to send off to ECS by October 31. At that point ECS judges will look everything over, and select a winner no later than November 7. Grand prize winner receives $1,000, second place gets $500, and third place $300, with the remaining seven getting some nice parting gifts.
If you want to get your creative juices flowing and have a chance to win that $1,000, head on over to the ECS USA Facebook page to get started. This contest is only open for residents in the US and Canada, so please take that into consideration. Remember to get your entries in by September 30, and good luck to all participants!
Source: Press Release
On September 18 starting at 6PM PST NVIDIA will begin a 24-hour event to "celebrate this thing we all love called PC gaming." The event will be broadcast live online and local events will be held worldwide in locations such as Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Stockholm. More details will become available as the event gets closer and gamers will be able to "interact with the livestream, win amazing prizes and share their own gaming experiences."
Gigabyte has announced its first motherboards to feature the Intel X99 chipset. The boards will be available under three different categories including "G1™ gaming, SOC overclocking and signature GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™." Gigabyte VP of motherboards Henry Kao introduced the boards stating, "In addition to being the first motherboards to support the latest Intel® Core™ i7 Extreme Edition CPUs and recently released DDR4 memory, GIGABYTE X99 motherboards offer an extensive range of unique GIGABYTE features that truly unlock the full potential of the platform." Some of the features that will be offered by these boards include all digital power design, long lifespan solid capacitors, Realtek onboard audio with included amplifier, and Killer Networking support. Also included will be a bevy of storage options including M.2, SATA Express, and Thunderbolt.
Source: Press Release
They say you cannot judge a book by its cover, and that is just as true with materials as it is with literature. A material's surface definitely has an important influence on how it interacts with other materials, but materials can interact with more than external materials. Researchers at MIT are investigating how patterning the interfaces within materials can be used to shape their properties.
Traditionally materials have been considered as having an external surface and an interior bulk, but treating the bulk as containing its own surfaces, or interfaces, is a novel idea. To do this the researchers had to adapt equations for determining surface properties to describe how a surface can vary at different locations. Such work is difficult to do experimentally, but computer simulations are capable of it.
By controlling the within a material, the researchers envision the possibility of building altering a material's strength as well as building in useful features. One example would be properties to control the flow of heat and sound through a material, which would impact thermoelectrics, and another would be putting channels inside of shielding meant for nuclear fusion reactors, so that helium atoms could escape, rather than damage the shielding.
Back in 2008, Electronic Arts attempted to purchase Take-Two Interactive, even trying a hostile takeover when its initial bid was rejected. That obviously failed and Take-Two has remained on its own ever since as a publicly traded company. Now, over six years later, one analyst is fueling rumors that Activision Blizzard is trying to acquire Take-Two. Mike Hickey, an equity researcher for the Benchmark Company, claims that the two companies were engaged in an "emerging romance," and that acquiring Take-Two would be a "no-brainer" for Activision.
With Destiny costing Activision $500 million to create, Hickey sees that venture as "difficult to annualize," which is something Activision typically likes to do. By acquiring Take-Two, Hickey's theory is that Activision could essentially annualize its future performance by the sheer number of high-profile franchises it would take over, such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Borderlands, NBA 2K, BioShock, and more. In addition, Hickey feels there are "shared cinematic ambitions" that would play a key role in such a merger. Take-Two is supposedly shopping around a GTA film adaptation, while Activision recruited Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey for its upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. While not mentioned by Hickey, we also know that a World of Warcraft movie has long been teased by Blizzard.
All that being said, not every analyst holds Hickey's beliefs. Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at major analyst IHS, told GamesIndustry.biz that the acquisition is unlikely. "Activision's MO is relatively anti-risk and it has a calculated long-term growth strategy based on establishing and developing billion dollar franchises that unlock large amounts of value for the company," Harding-Rolls explained. "Activision is well placed to deliver that once again following the Skylanders success with Destiny and I don't believe acquiring Take Two and its stable of IP fits with this strategy." That being said, he does think Activision is looking for "further growth opportunities" and certainly thinks a movie opportunity would make sense, especially since "a number of its franchises are longer in the tooth or more competitively challenged than before."
Whether the rumor is true or not, shareholders seem pleased with the news, as the stock prices for both companies rose on Friday and are once again seeing a slight increase today (there was no trading Monday due to the holiday).
Trion Worlds' free-to-play "sandpark" MMORPG ArcheAge entered alpha testing back in April, with several closed beta tests starting in July. If you haven't had the fortune of getting into the testing, don't worry, as the game will soon be available for everyone to enjoy. During PAX Prime this past weekend, Trion Worlds and developer XLGAMES announced that ArcheAge will officially launch on Tuesday, September 16. But you won't even have to wait that long! There will be an Open Beta from September 4 at 10AM PDT to September 8 at 10AM PDT. That being said, after the Open Beta ends, all the servers will be wiped clean, so I don't personally understand the point.
While ArcheAge is free-to-play, anyone who buys one of the three Founders packs (Silver at $49.99, Gold at $99.99, and Archeum at $149.99), will get a four-day Head Start. The Head Start begins September 12 at 10AM PDT and culminates with the game's official launch on the 16th. While alpha and beta progress will be wiped, all progress from the Head Start will obviously carry over to launch.
Source: Official Site
Currently most technology relies on electrons for carrying information, but many foresee a future where photons do that job instead. Transitioning from electronics to photonics is not going to be easy though in part because electrons and photons are such different quantum particles. Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute however have developed a new photon cannon that overcomes one challenge, by producing single photons that travel in one direction.
The reason it is so difficult to produce single photons compared to electrons has to do with the types of particles they are. Electrons are fermions, which cannot group up, while photons are bosons that are very comfortable existing in the same place at the same time. By using a quantum dot, a synthesized semiconductor crystal though, the researchers are able to produce single photons by exciting the dot with a laser. While that addresses the single-photon issue, the photons are only useful if they go in the right direction. To accomplish that, the researchers built the dot in a photonic crystal on a chip, and that crystal forces the photons to go one way.
The resulting photon cannon the researchers built has a 98.4% success rate of producing single photons and having them go where they want to. Now the researchers are working to patent this work and develop high-efficiency prototypes that could see use for encryption and quantum computing.
Source: University of Copenhagen
If you've been a longtime visitor of OCC, you may remember that I used to write a weekly Steam Greenlight Spotlight feature back in 2012-2013. I bring this up because my Week 18 entry back in January 2013 was an action-adventure RPG called Evoland, which subsequently launched on Steam in April 2013. Evoland told the story of the action adventure genre, changing and evolving as you played, from a monochrome 2D world to a colorful full 3D. Today, developer Shiro Games announced a sequel: Evoland 2, A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder.
Evoland 2 is the spiritual successor to the original Evoland with its graphics style changing as you travel through time and its gameplay evolving as you move along the storyline. It is also a much bigger game and a classic RPG at heart, with a complex scenario based on time travel, dozens of characters with their own backgrounds and ambitions and vastly different gameplay styles that are linked to the story and the players actions.
While Evoland switched up gameplay mechanics over the course of the game, it mostly stuck to the action-adventure and RPG genres. One of the cool things with Evoland 2 is that it'll explore a variety of genres, with "turn based tactical combat, platformer, and shoot'em up" shown in the last screenshot below. According to the developer, "Most of them can be found in all time periods with their art style updated to fit each period."
Evoland was a great game, but if there was one common criticism, it was that it was an extremely short game. Evoland 2 sounds like it'll be upping the ante, so hopefully that means a longer, more engaging experience. As of now, Evoland 2 is planned for a Q2 2015 release for Windows and Mac.
Source: Press Release and Official Site
Is Titanfall still Titanfall without Titans? That question is going to be answered today when Game Update Six rolls out. While this sixth major update brings a bunch of changes and additions, the major addition is the new featured game mode called Pilot Skirmish. Pilot Skirmish increases the player count to 8v8, but removes AI and Titans. When I reviewed Titanfall back at launch, one of the things I loved about the game was how it handled mobility; I even made the bold statement that other developers could learn from its mobility. I guess we'll now see if that mobility is enough to help the game stand out without the presence of Titans.
You can check out the link below for details on the additional changes, such as Marked For Death being made a permanent game mode, three new colorblind options, gambling, and a new way of handling joining a match more than half way done. Titanfall Game Update Six launches later today for PC and Xbox One.
Source: Facebook and Official Site
AMD has just introduced three new eight-core processors into its FX lineup, the FX-8370, FX-8370E, and FX 8320E. While performance is certainly a marketing component of these new processors, as they are geared directly towards content creation and gaming, their price points are what make them attractive for potential buyers. The 4GHz FX-8370 and the 3.3GHz FX-8370E are priced at $199.99, while the 3.2GHz FX 8320E is priced at $146.99. AMD is hoping that the value of its three new FX-series processors wins over consumers who are looking at low-level and mid-level offerings by Intel. Unfortunately, the three new FX processors are still built upon the Piledriver microarchitecture that AMD launched in 2012 and are also manufactured with a 32nm process.
Smart Home, a technology offered by Samsung that connects all types of home electronics onto a single network for simplified access and control, is expected to have improved compatibility in the near future. Samsung plans to open the service up to third-party developers, allowing appliances and electronics to be controlled from Galaxy smartphones and company smartwatches. Although Samsung did not reveal specific third-party products or services that are expected to be compatible with Smart Home, it did tease capabilities such as monitoring the amount of electricity used by appliances, monitoring security cameras from a smartphone, and turning on lights by using geolocation. The expansion of Smart Home will be facilitated by a software development kit for the service that is expected to be released later this year.
More information about Smart Home will likely be revealed at the Samsung's Developer Conference, which begins on November 11, 2014.
Despite how common batteries are, they are not simple systems and their complexity makes it difficult to find all the avenues to improve them. For example, we do not fully understand how the electrodes behave while in use, in part because we have limited abilities to measure how heat can affect deformations due to stress. Researchers at Purdue University have recently developed a new experiment that can do just that.
The new measurement technique is based on Raman spectroscopy, which traditionally uses a laser to catch the vibrations of a crystal lattice, to determine the chemical composition of a material. What the researchers have done is added the ability to make nanomechanical measurements and to test it, they used microscale silicon cantilevers. The cantilevers had a stress applied to them and were heated from 25 ºC to 100 ºC. The results showed that the heat increased the deformation of the surface and near-surface structure, because the heat weakened the bonds between the atoms.
During normal use, batteries will heat up and the electrodes within will also swell and contract, which is why understanding how heat impacts the effects of stress. Something else that makes this technique particularly valuable for studying batteries is that Raman spectroscopy uses lasers, and thus does not need any sensors within the harsh insides of a battery.
Source: Purdue University