This light-bending tech will let scientists see the sun like never before

To truly understand what makes the solar wind tick, heliophysicists must analyze the minuscule features on the sun‘s surface that help accelerate the star’s charged particles out through the solar system. And to perform that task with better precision, they need better ways of seeing in ultraviolet.

Enter a technology called the photon sieve: a sort of lens that helps subtly bend ultraviolet light toward a camera. To be clear, a photon sieve is no ordinary lens; it is a cutting-edge work of engineering only possible with the most modern techniques. Sun-facing spacecraft later this decade are expected to go into Earth‘s orbit with photon sieves in their arsenal.