Staff Optical Engineer – Linac Coherent Light Source Engineering Division | SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


Posted: 08-Mar-23

Location: Menlo Park, California

Type: Full Time


Academia, Research Laboratory


Job Function:


Technical Division:

Laser Systems (PL)

Optical Material Studies (OM)

Optical Metrology (OR)

Years of Experience:


Salary Details:

The expected pay range for this position is $108,000 to $163,000 per annum.

Internal Number: 5202

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) is an internationally preeminent science facility, operated by Stanford University at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on behalf of the Department of Energy, Office of Science. This facility provides world-leading scientific capabilities to a global user community, covering a very broad research portfolio that includes the development of advanced materials and chemical catalysts for clean energy systems; drug discovery for modern pharmaceuticals; and fundamental studies of astrophysical phenomena.

We are seeking a candidate to fill the position of Staff Optical Engineer.  The successful candidate will help drive a dynamic and exciting environment, working with a diverse team of scientists and engineers developing state of the art high energy laser facilities, laser beam conditioning, diagnostics and delivery systems for the LCLS free electron x-ray laser’s experimental end stations.

Major upgrades to LCLS are currently underway, representing well over a billion dollars of investment. Over the next five years, LCLS will design and deliver a new suite of science instruments to transform this field, taking advantage of the orders-of-magnitude increase in X-ray beam power as the pulse repetition rate is increased from 120 pulses/second to 1 million/second. This drives the need for entirely new capabilities in the optical pump sources. In addition, a major multi-year project is underway to upgrade the LCLS facility with both kilojoule and Petawatt lasers, enabling high peak power optical and x-ray photons to combine on target, providing world-leading capabilities in the field of fusion science.

The successful candidate will join the Laser Engineering and Timing group withing the LCLS mechanical engineering division and support new and existing programs through optical design and modeling, procurement, integration and alignment, and test/verification of a wide variety of optical systems across LCLS.  A major component of this role is to develop a robust program for operations support of these systems.

Note: SLAC is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory operated by Stanford University and based in Menlo Park, CA. Given the nature of this position, SLAC requires on-site work.

Your specific responsibilities include:

  • Work closely with other members of the engineering and scientific staff at LCLS to develop optical designs for beam conditioning, beam transport, relay imaging, laser focusing, and associated laser diagnostic systems, including concept of operations, using engineering principles so the final product is reliable, available and maintainable.
  • Responsible for the execution and delivery of new optical and optomechanical systems for optical pump laser conditioning, delivery and laser diagnostics throughout the LCLS facility.
  • Take a leadership role in the detailed design, procurement, installation, alignment, integration and validation of these designs, and provide engineering support for ongoing operations, maintenance and upgrades of these systems.
  • Work as part of a team with mechanical engineers, designers and drafters to develop optomechanical support structures and mechanisms to support the optics of these designs, providing suitable degrees of freedom for proper alignment.
  • Responsible for documenting the optical designs and developing a training/ops support plan that enables high uptime and ease of repair.

SLAC employee competencies:

  • Effective Decisions: Uses job knowledge and solid judgment to make quality decisions in a timely manner.
  • Self-Development: Pursues a variety of venues and opportunities to continue learning and developing.
  • Dependability: Can be counted on to deliver results with a sense of personal responsibility for expected outcomes.
  • Initiative: Pursues work and interactions proactively with optimism, positive energy, and motivation to move things forward.
  • Adaptability: Flexes as needed when change occurs, maintains an open outlook while adjusting and accommodating changes.
  • Communication: Ensures effective information flow to various audiences and creates and delivers clear, appropriate written, spoken, presented messages.
  • Relationships: Builds relationships to foster trust, collaboration, and a positive climate to achieve common goals.

Physical requirements and working conditions:

  • Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job

Work standards:

  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues, field staff, business partners, and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for environment, safety and security; communicates related concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.  Meets the applicable roles and responsibilities as described in the ESH Manual, Chapter 1—General Policy and Responsibilities:   
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,
  • As an organization that receives federal funding, SLAC and Stanford University have a COVID-19 vaccination requirement that will apply to all university employees, including those working remotely in the United States and applicable subcontractors. To learn more about COVID policies and guidelines for Stanford University Staff, please visit


  • Classification Title: Staff Engineer 2
  • Employment Duration: Regular Continuing
  • Job code: 0132, Grade: K

The expected pay range for this position is $108,000 to $163,000 per annum. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Stanford University provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the university reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location and external market pay for comparable jobs.

To be successful in this position you will bring:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Optical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or related field and 2 years’ experience in the following areas:
    • Optical design and analysis
    • Commercial lens design and optical analysis software
    • Working with mechanical engineers to develop optomechanical systems
    • Optical metrology equipment and methods
    • Installation, commissioning and transfer to operations of complex systems
    • Preparing detailed optics drawings for fabrication
    • Experience with optical coatings, including high laser damage resistant coatings
    • Hands-on experience installing and aligning precision optical systems
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and collaborative work environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and in a diverse team environment.
  • Advanced verbal and written communication skills necessary to collaborate in a team environment.

In addition, preferred requirements include:

  • MS in Optical Engineering, Electrical Engineering
  • Experience with high energy and ns, ps and fs pulsed lasers highly desirable, especially within a scientific research facility.
  • Working knowledge of Zemax Optic Studio, Matlab and Python preferred.
  • Relevant project experience managing, requirements, cost, schedule and delivery of complex system

About SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryAs one of 17 Department of Energy national labs, SLAC pushes the frontiers of human knowledge and drives discoveries that benefit humankind. We inventthe tools that make those discoveries possible and share them with researchers all over the world.

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