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Senior Embedded Firmware & FPGA Engineer

Thorlabs, Inc., Sterling , VA, 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

Purpose of the Position

The position includes design architecture for embedded systems firmware and FPGA devices and troubleshooting electronic systems. Additional tasks consist of documentation, vendor management, prototyping, and transferring production ready products to manufacturing. A successful candidate for this position keeps apprised of cutting-edge technology, can think outside the box while simultaneously keeping things simple and remains within budget. The location of the position is in Sterling, VA--may be required occasionally to undertake duties at other Thorlabs or customer locations.

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

  • Develop embedded firmware to control and monitor many different optical, mechanical, and electrical components within an integrated system
  • Design and development of FPGA devices in Verilog and VHDL with timing simulations
  • Develop FPGA design and interface documents
  • Work closely with software group to maximize functionality and technology usage
  • Take a design from an initial concept through prototyping, debugging, and manufacturing phases
  • Manage project timeline and costs
  • Troubleshoot and resolve electronics related system issues
  • Develop test fixtures for manufacturing
  • Assist and or troubleshoot our production team when problems arise


In addition to the essential functions and duties listed above, all positions are also responsible for:

  • Meeting company standards pertaining to quantity and quality of work performed on an ongoing basis, performing all work-related tasks in a manner that is in compliance with all Company policies and procedures.
  • Adhering to Company policies, procedures, and directives regarding standards of workplace behavior in completing job duties and assignments.

The Company retains the right to change or assign other duties to this position.

Physical Activities:

This is largely a sedentary role; however, some filing is required. This would require the ability to lift files, open filing cabinets and bend or stand, as necessary.


  • 5+ years’ experience in C programming, Verilog, VHDL, and debugging
  • Knowledge of motion control with different type of actuators
  • Knowledge of Analog or Digital boards and systems
  • Knowledge of video acquisition and frame construction
  • Interact with outside customers, suppliers, and functional peer groups


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of microscope laser scanning devices
  • Knowledge of electronics design for scientific, biotech, and medical instrumentation



  • MS in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering


Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Thorough understanding of embedded hardware, such as microprocessor and microcontroller-based control and monitoring circuits
  • Knowledge of C, C++, C#, Verilog and VHDL environment
  • Proven expertise in troubleshooting and resolving electronic issues in instruments
  • Familiarity with design and implementation of optoelectronic circuits and control systems
  • Strong communication and presentation skills
  • Team player
  • Self-starter
  • Strong innovation skills.


Organizational Relationships

Direct Reports:

This position has no direct supervisory responsibilities but does serve as a coach and mentor for other positions in the department.


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.

23 April 2021
23 May 2021
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors