Optical Engineer I

Job Details

Job ID: 11487

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.


Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


From nano-scale coronagraph masks to football-field sized starshades, from proposal to implementation, the High Contrast Imaging Group develops the technologies for directly imaging and characterizing extra-solar planets. The advancement of these technologies demands precise manufacturing and characterization practices, careful and often highly complex experimentation, and detailed modelling that spans the spectrum of optical physics.  The culmination of these technologies is the ability to suppress the veiling glare of starlight to better than 100 parts per trillion in close proximity to the star; this is akin to seeing a firefly next to a lighthouse. The group is looking for a candidate who is passionate about the science and thrives in a multi-disciplinary technology development environment.


The successful candidate will be a member of the High Contrast Imaging Group and will report to the Group Supervisor.  They will participate in technology development through the design, assembly, integration, and operation of optical experiments and optical characterization testbeds, analysis by optical physics computations, and through the characterization of components for coronagraphs and starshades, e.g. precision silicon masks, razor-sharp optical scatter control edges, and multi-layer flexible optical shields. The work will be related to the Starshade Technology Development activity, The Decadal Survey Coronagraph Testbed, and the WFIRST Coronagraph Instrument (CGI).


Required Skills:

  • Bachelors degree in Aerospace, Optical Engineering, Physics or related technical discipline.
  • Experience in laboratory experimentation, including the interfacing of hardware to computers.
  • Proficiency in Matlab or Python
  • Proficiency in word processing and spreadsheets, e.g. Word and Excel
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Minimum of a 3.0/4.0 GPA.

Desired Skills:

  • Hands-on experience with optical instruments such as lasers, power meters, lenses, CCD or CMOS detectors
  • Familiarity with optical diffraction and refraction, and a solid mathematics foundation.
  • Familiarity with CAD software, e.g. Solidworks
  • Proficiency in one or more of the following: Zemax, CODE-V, LabVIEW
  • Familiarity with JPL processes and practices

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