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Caltech Optical Observatories (COO) is seeking a talented senior optical engineer to join its Optical and Infrared (OIR) Instrumentation group. The OIR group designs, fabricates, and commissions astronomical instrumentation systems for Palomar, Gemini, Keck, and the planned Thirty Meter Telescope Observatories, while fostering a community of respect, learning, and individual growth. The qualified optical engineer will lead instrument and optical subsystem conceptualization, optical design, tolerancing, integration and testing, optical alignment, and commissioning of state-of-the-art instrumentation pushing back the frontiers of planetary science, astronomy, and cosmology.
This position is based on the Caltech campus in Pasadena, California, but requires occasional travel to Palomar Mountain, San Diego, California and Maunakea, Hawaii. COO encourages a healthy work-life balance, with work schedule flexibility and results-oriented performance evaluation and mentorship.
The Successful Candidate Will:
Demonstrate Customer Focus: Demonstrate a concern for the needs and expectations of customers (internal or external); focus efforts on identifying and meeting the needs of customers; use an understanding of customer needs as the basis for decision-making and organizational action; build strong relationships of trust with customers
Make Good Decisions: Apply logic and practical thinking to decision making; gather necessary input and data from multiple sources to inform decisions and make decisions based on one's best thinking given time available; draw correct and reasonable conclusions based on data and information; make decisions in a timely manner regardless of pressure or uncertainty; make decisions quickly when called to do so; consider budgetary impact of decisions
Plan / Organize: Determine objectives and strategies required to deliver results; allocate resources according to organizational priorities; determine how to use resources efficiently to accomplish a task or project; consider budgetary impact of decisions
Demonstrate Technical Knowledge and Skills: Apply technical and professional skill or knowledge in position-related areas; keep up with current developments and trends in areas of expertise
Build Trusting Partnerships: Develop and leverage collaborative relationships with internal and external colleagues based on mutual trust to facilitate the accomplishment of work goals; work cooperatively with stakeholders to identify and meet mutual goals
Clearly Communicate: Clearly and succinctly convey information and ideas to individuals and groups; shape communication to the needs of the audience; convey ideas and opinions clearly to others; share relevant information and expectations openly, honestly and in a timely fashion; listen attentively to others
Actively Learn: Demonstrate zeal for new information, knowledge, and experiences; regularly seek and capitalize on learning opportunities; quickly assimilate and apply new information
Demonstrate Agility / Flexibility: Be open to changing conditions; adjust one's own behavior in light of changing conditions; adjust effectively to work within new work structures, processes, requirements, or cultures
COO is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Caltech supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to broaden participation and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce.
Essential Job Duties
Concurrently provide and direct optical engineering activities for one or more astronomical instruments in COO's instrumentation program
Perform and direct conceptual design of advanced optical and infrared instrument configurations consisting of large-diameter, high-speed, precision wavefront, and/or microelement optical components in novel, scalable architectures
Provide sophisticated optical component specifications and tolerancing, manage capital optical element procurement
Perform and direct requirements-driven optical systems laboratory integration and testing
Perform and support optomechanical design, layout, drawing, mechanical fabrication, and alignment
Perform stray and scattered light, ghosting, and polarization analyses
Develop, maintain, and meet optical transmission, wavefront error, delivered image quality and related engineering budget
Perform and direct subsystem cost estimation in support of project management
Develop, execute, and deliver instrumentation documentation, including technical requirements, notes, quantitative analyses, design documentation, alignment and test plans, verification results
Perform other related duties as assigned
M.S. degree or equivalent
8+ years' experience or equivalent in Optical Engineering or Optical Sciences, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Physics, or Astronomy
Demonstrated independent design responsibility for precision optics, optical assemblies, optomechanics, in ambient, cryogenic, and/or vacuum systems
Expertise with modern optical and mechanical design software (Zemax, SolidWorks), industry fabrication capabilities, and design constraints
Deep theoretical understanding of aberration theory and Fourier optics principles
Working understanding of optical and infrared detector arrays, including system design principles leading to superior photometric and astrometric instrument performance
Experience with optical testing techniques, Gaussian beams, coherence, fiber optics, MEMS, MOEMS, and other photonics components in a practical laboratory environment
The successful applicant must possess a high degree of enthusiasm and initiative for optical engineering, working frequently without detailed supervision while routinely interface with systems and optomechanical engineers
Excellent oral and written communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills are essential. Must work well within technical and scientific teams
Occasional travel and work assignments at high altitudes and in limited light environments; requires a successful pre-employment physical, including vision screening
Possess a valid driver's license and maintain it throughout the course of employment
Ability to lift 20 lbs.
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions
12+ years' experience in Optical Engineering or Optical Sciences, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Physics, or Astronomy
Proficiency in thermal design principles and analysis techniques, as applicable to astronomical instrumentation
Detailed understanding of optical shop manufacturing processes and experience working closely with fabricators
Strong record of successful deliveries of optics subsystems or full instruments for astronomical or terrestrial applications
National and international recognition for experimental research or instrumentation leadership
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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