Senior Instrumentation Optical Engineer

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project has been established to design, build and eventually operate an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) with a primary mirror diameter of 30 meters. ELT’s will be the successors of the present day 8-10 meter world class telescopes. When complete the TMT will be the largest ground based optical/infrared telescope in the world providing the capability to study exciting astronomical problems from the nature of extra-solar planets to the first stars in the universe.    An international collaboration consisting of the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, Canada, Japan, India and China has been formed to deliver this exciting project.

The TMT project recently entered construction and will be completed and ready for science operations in 2027.  The TMT project office is located in Pasadena, CA, USA. The design and build of the various telescope systems will be distributed amongst the TMT partner institutions, collaborators, industry, and the Project Office.

Job Summary

TMT International Observatory, LLC is a non-profit corporation managing the development and construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), a large optical-infrared telescope to be built by an international partnership. The Instrumentation Department is responsible for design, fabrication and test of the adaptive optics systems, and of the three first-light science instruments for TMT. Reporting to Instrumentation Department Head, the Senior Instrumentation Optical Engineer will lead optical design, analysis and test engineering activities for the instrumentation department, and will sometimes be asked to provide technical consultation and assistance for the telescope optical systems. The Senior Instrumentation Optical Engineer will play a key role in the design, fabrication and test of the adaptive optics systems and science instruments including working collaboratively with internal staff, suppliers, and international partners in US, Canada, Japan, China and India.

Job Duties 

The Senior Instrumentation Optical Engineer will be fully cognizant of all aspects of the optical design, analysis, manufacturing and test of the TMT adaptive optics systems and science first-light instruments, including performing the following activities on a regular basis: 

  • Define and/or review optical parameters requirements, and error budgets for the adaptive optics systems and first-light science instruments and support the preparation of requirement and interface control documents

  • Monitor and review optical design activities by international partner institutions & suppliers for the adaptive optics systems and first-light science instruments. Evaluate the performance and manufacturing and testing ability of these.

  • Lead or monitor optical alignment and acceptance testing for optical components of the adaptive optics systems and first-light science instruments

  • Write technical reports including, but not limited to design requirement documents, interface control documents, optical design reports, optical alignment plans and verification and validation plans.

  • Prepare and deliver technical presentations

  • Participate or lead the technical contract management of one or several sub-systems or optical components developed by TMT partners or industrial suppliers.

Minimum Requirements

  • A degree in optical design, optical engineering or equivalent; advanced degree preferred

  • 10 years of experience in optical analysis, design and engineering of large optical systems

  • Significant experience in procuring sophisticated optical systems and monitoring vendors

  • Experience in system engineering, project management, and/or technical contract management is a positive factor

  • Experience with large optical telescopes is a positive factor 

  • The project office is located in Pasadena and residence in the area is required. 

  • Regular international travels to visit suppliers within the US, Europe and in Canada, China, India and Japan will be necessary in order to fulfill the duties of this position. 

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities 

The Senior Instrumentation Optical Engineer must have strong personal skills, including all of the following: 

  • Excellent organization skills 

  • Good interpersonal skills 

  • Strong communication skills 

  • Ability to write clear and concise technical documents 

  • A cooperative team-player who strives to make the team successful 

  • Ability to multi-task a substantial number of parallel activities 

  • Practical problem solving skills including an analytical approach

  • Fluency in Mandarin Chinese or Japanese is a positive factor 

The Senior Instrumentation Optical Engineer must have strong technical skills in many of the following areas: 

  • Advanced knowledge and expertise with optical design tools (e.g Zemax or Code V) and methods

  • Advanced knowledge and experience with specifications of optical systems, instrumentation, and methods for optical system fabrication, alignment and test

  • Experience preparing and reviewing optical component fabrication drawing

  • Advanced knowledge of diffraction theory and stray light analysis

  • Familiarity with astronomical adaptive optics systems and their optical components, cryogenic optics, spectrometers, and laser optics preferred

  • A demonstrated ability to develop optical designs and requirements from system performance requirements

The Senior Optical Engineer must have good project management skills in many of the following areas: 

  • Developing and managing to a schedule and a budget

  • Preparing Statements of Work

  • Knowledge of earned-value reporting 

  • Supply-chain management 

  • Product Assurance and Quality Assurance knowledge 

  • Experience with Failure Mode Effects Analysis

  • Experience in technical contract management

TMT International Observatory, LLC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disabled Persons are encouraged to apply.

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