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Caltech Optical Observatories (COO) is seeking a talented Senior Detector Engineer, Electrical Engineer, or Physicist to join its Optical/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 detector engineer will lead detector subsystem conceptualization, design, procurement, characterization and optimization, subsystem integration, commissioning of state-of-the-art detector systems pushing back the frontiers of planetary science, astronomy, and cosmology.
Previous and anticipated projects include deployment of optical and/or near-infrared detectors in large-format mosaics requiring rapid readout, spectrograph detector systems demanding exquisite noise performance, and fast-frame-rate detectors for adaptive optics wavefront sensing. Our group additionally leads international basic research into phenomena affecting the feasibility or design of future space missions and large telescopes, including how device physics limits precise photometry, astrometry, and weak lensing.
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
Caltech Optical Observatories (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
Design, engineering, and optimization of imaging sensors working across a range of wavelength bands and operating modes
Design, develop, and implement detector interface and control electronics, real-time data acquisition systems, and development of experimental setups
Develop sophisticated engineering specifications and test plans for detector systems
Guide the development of new/enhanced measurement techniques and improve existing procedures and systems to obtain more accurate results
Direct the construction of sophisticated models of device behavior
Develop/modify complex software tools for interfacing to and controlling detector controllers in the context of specialized astronomical instruments
Lead the design and implementation of experiments to investigate the engineering limits to astronomical observations such as precision photometry, and astrometry, and point spread function shape measurement
Lead the thermal design of detector assemblies and cryogenic dewars
Lead the troubleshooting and lifecycle support for camera systems deployed at Caltech observatories
Design of electronic interfaces, test-signal generators, illuminations systems and environmental controls
Provide specialized input to research reports, journal articles, and instrumentation documentation
Collaborate with astronomy and astrophysics faculty to develop new strategies, approaches, methods, and techniques for obtaining unprecedented astronomical data
M.S. degree in electrical engineering, physics, or computer science or equivalent
6+ years related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience
Fluency with modern electronics design and data analysis software, statistical analysis techniques and experimental design principles
Demonstrated leadership in conceptualization, requirements capture, design, interface control specification, and generation of associated supporting documents
Extensive experience leading the integration of mixed hardware/software systems for demanding performance applications
Excellent oral and written technical and nontechnical communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills are essential
Must work well within diverse technical and scientific teams
Emphasis will be placed on initiative and ability to perform independent system design, integration, and troubleshooting
High-level proficiency in a significant number of the following technical areas: analog design, servo design and tuning, grounding, and packaging of low noise electronics, high speed analog and digital signal transmission, gate array programming, state machine design, schematic capture, circuit simulation, PCB layout, and operation and testing of cryogenic/vacuum systems
Occasional travel and work assignments at high altitudes and in limited light environments; requires successful pre-employment physical, including vision screening
Must possess a valid driver's license and maintain it throughout the course of employment
Ability to lift 20 lbs.
M.S. degree in electrical engineering, physics, or computer science and 10+ years related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience
Demonstrated success leading in-depth analysis of experimental data, the ability to systematically develop physical models of subtle or illusive phenomena, and optimization of performance of detectors and their electronics, including ASIC controllers, which may be operating at cryogenic temperatures
National and international recognition for their intellectual contributions to sensor characterization, performance optimization, and test algorithm development
Experience leading DSP or FPGA programming, C++, UNIX, Python, Matlab, IDL or IRAF, and LabView or similar will be an asset
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions
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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