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Design Engineer

Thorlabs, Inc., Newton, NJ, United States
Employer Description

Founded in 1989, Thorlabs seeks to accelerate the forward movement of scientific discovery and advancement! As a vertically integrated manufacturer of photonics components, instruments, and systems, our vast product portfolio includes over 20,000 items, ranging from optics and optomechanical positioning components to imaging systems, many of which are customer inspired.

Photonics is the foremost technology driving innovation in science and engineering. As the number of technological innovations has grown, Thorlabs has extended its core competencies in an effort to play an ever increasing role serving the Photonics Industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments.

Headquartered in Newton, NJ, Thorlabs has grown to over 1800 employees with manufacturing and sales offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, China, and Brazil. As light-based technologies push into new markets, Thorlabs plans to enter early with the products and services required to ensure the ultimate success of our customers.

Job Description

This position is for an entry to mid-level individual who has an optical and/or opto-mechanical design background. Position entails the development and design of new products for the optics product line. The engineer will be responsible for managing the project from concept to finished product. Although the location of the position is in Newton, NJ, from time to time it may be required to undertake duties at other ThorLabs locations.

Essential Job Functions include the following, but are not limited to:

  • Design new products to add to the Thorlabs online catalog including thin film coatings, lenses, polarization optics, prisms, gratings, opto-mechanics, collimators, isolators, spectroscopy accessories, microscopy sub-assemblies, etc.
  • Review customer source control drawings, specification control drawings and other applicable specifications to determine requirements and/or feasibility of the component. Communicate with customers to understand and define their needs.
  • Perform all necessary calculations such as optical simulation, thin film optimization, FEA/Stress/Thermal analysis, and polarization/retardance performance.
  • Prepare design proposals and documents.
  • Interact with production personnel to define and solve manufacturing/design issues and implement cost reduction ideas with regard to company products.
  • Assists drafting, lab testing, manufacturing, quality, and planning as required.
  • Perform liaison function between engineering team and all manufacturing operations for any related issues, problems, or improvements.
  • Work with the quality department to define problem areas and implement product improvements based on customer repair/rejection concerns.
  • Participate in engineering and general design reviews as required.
  • Prepare technical data such as qualification test procedures, acceptance test procedures, reports, component maintenance manuals, etc.
  • Interact with vendors and purchasers concerning supplied and proposed components.
  • Responsible for all changes and problems related to assigned product lines.
  • Acts as technical expert for the company for both internal and external customers.
  • Coordinate as required with other internal groups including Sales, Accounting personnel, Fabrication, Technical Marketing, Technical Support, OEM Team, Management, Planning, and Assembly.
  • When requested performs duties of the Engineering Manager during the manager’s absence.
  • Advise supervisor of work status, workload, problems and progress as related to work assignments.
  • Responsible for entire product life cycle.
  • Monitor and analyze assigned competitors’ trends, acquisitions, and product lines with the intent of reporting to the group weekly and posting to internal forum when applicable.
  • Keep current with newest applications, products, and manufacturing techniques within the industry. Share, discuss, and collaborate while looking for opportunities to implement.



  • Some industry experience or related coursework in the field of optics and photonics


  • Bachelor’s degree in Optical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics or a related engineering disciplines. A Master’s degree is desirable.

Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Experience with SolidWorks, CAD, or other modeling software.
  • Proficiency in a computer language such as Visual Basic, C++, Python, Labview
  • Familiarity with optical modeling software, specifically Zemax and TFCalc, but also relevant CODE V, Essential MacLeod, Filmstar, OSLO, etc.
  • Demonstrated technical background and hands on experience in such fields as optics, opto-mechanical design, laser optics, polarization, microscopy, and telecommunications. Hands on experience with optics including alignment, measurement, and testing
  • Knowledge of current optical design, fabrication, assembly, and test techniques
  • Strong project Management skills with a deep sense of ownership
  • Strong ability to take initiative
  • Demonstrated innovation
  • Flexibility/adaptability in a fast-paced & dynamic environment

Thorlabs values its diverse environment and is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified individuals will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status. Job descriptions are not intended as and do not create employment contracts. The organization maintains its status as an at-will employer. Employees can be terminated for any reason not prohibited by law.

28 December 2020
27 January 2021
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors