Physical Chemist – Applied Research Associates, Inc – Charles Town, WV

VACCINATION REQUIREMENT: As of October 1, 2021, Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA), in compliance with the Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, requires all U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination at time of hire. If you cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to a disability/medical reason or sincerely held religious belief, you will be asked to follow our process to request an accommodation.

Applied Research Associates, Inc. is seeking a Physical Chemist for an exciting opportunity to work with a dedicated and experienced group of engineers developing autonomous systems from the ground up. The candidate will research, build, and implement optical imaging and detection devices and integrate them into the autonomous systems.

This position requires a candidate with capabilities and experience performing a variety of complex scientific and engineering tasks across the optics spectrum, including:

  • Optics design, including the use of software tools to aid in optical system prototyping
  • Optics system development, which will likely include illumination (LED and laser sources), radiometry and photometry, physical and geometric optics, diffractive optics, waveguide optics, polarization, imaging (cameras), data collection, and data processing
  • Optics system integration on and within devices designed and implemented by other members of a multi-disciplinary engineering and science team

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry or similar field
  • 2 years of experience in optics design, spectral analysis, and development of optical systems
  • Experience interfacing optical devices to other instruments or analytics equipment
  • Broad working knowledge of optics and photonics
  • Experience working in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Experience performing calculations of end-to-end light throughput for complete optical systems
  • Hands-on laboratory skills in setting up, testing, validating, and troubleshooting of optical, fiber optic and opto-mechanical subsystems
  • Candidate must be a US Citizen
  • Able to obtain and maintain a Department of Defense security clearance

Desired Qualifications:

  • Working knowledge of interferometry, spectroscopy, and high-speed imaging
  • Capable of performing laser health checks including profile, beam waist (focus), divergence, beam quality, and irradiance profiles
  • Working knowledge of an optics design and analysis software tool (e.g., ZEMAX) to aid in optical system prototyping
  • Lens design experience using ray tracing simulation programs
  • Working knowledge of programming data acquisition systems (e.g., LabView)

This position is contingent upon a contract award expected in March 2021.


Applied Research Associates, Inc. is an employee-owned international research and engineering company recognized for providing technically superior solutions to complex and challenging problems in the physical sciences. The company, founded in Albuquerque, NM, in 1979, currently employs over 1200 professionals. ARA offices throughout the United States and Canada provide a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, civil technologies, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, environmental technologies, and testing and measurement. The corporation also provides sophisticated technical products for environmental site characterization, pavement analysis, and robotics.

At ARA, employees are our greatest assets. The corporation realizes that employee ownership spawns greater creativity and initiative along with higher performance and customer satisfaction levels. ARA gives its employees the tools, training, and opportunities to take more active roles as owners. The culture is challenging; innovation and experimentation are the norm. Employees are eligible for contributions which not only add to the company’s success, but also their own through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The motto, “Engineering and Science for Fun and Profit” sums up the ARA experience. For additional information and an opportunity to join this unique workplace, please visit our website at

Please apply at for the Physical Chemist position.


  • Less than 2 year(s): Relevant work experience


  • Doctor of Philosophy or better in Physical Chemistry or related field


  • Team Player: Works well as a member of a group
  • Innovative: Consistently introduces new ideas and demonstrates original thinking
  • Detail Oriented: Capable of carrying out a given task with all details necessary to get the task done well


  • Self-Starter: Inspired to perform without outside help
  • Goal Completion: Inspired to perform well by the completion of tasks
  • Ability to Make an Impact: Inspired to perform well by the ability to contribute to the success of a project or the organization

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

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