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Embedded Firmware 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

Thorlabs is seeking a senior embedded firmware engineer to participate in the development of next-generation scientific instruments primarily microscopes. We are seeking an insightful, talented and dedicated engineer to contribute to our fast-paced and dynamic R&D environment within Thorlabs’ Imaging Systems Division. The successful candidate will plan, design, develop, and implement real-time firmware for microcontrollers to be used in complex instruments. The candidate is also expected to develop basic software and user interfaces for testing. Activities include design documentation, prototype verification and debug, test development, and transfer to manufacturing. This position requires troubleshooting complex electronics and system problems and is committed to customer satisfaction. Preference will be given to candidates with a broad range of interests and skills. 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 or monitor many different optical, mechanical, and electrical components within an integrated system
  • Design and support documentation including, but not limited to: firmware theory of operation, SDK definition, source control, and revision tracking, test procedures, and end user’s manuals.
  • 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
  • Troubleshoot and resolve electronics-related system issues
  • Develop test fixtures for manufacturing
  • Assist and/or troubleshoot our production team when problems arise



Job Requirements


  • 2+ years’ experience with embedded software / firmware, 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



  • BS in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering


Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Thorough understanding of embedded hardware, such as a microprocessor and microcontroller-based control and monitoring circuits.
  • Proficient in C, C++, C#, and Eclipse IDE.
  • Proficient in using an oscilloscope.
  • Direct experience working with FreeRTOS.
  • Exposure to version control software, preferably Git.
  • PID control implementation in Firmware.
  • Experience with developing firmware for real-time I2C, SPI, USB protocols.
  • 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.


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.


22 November 2021
22 December 2021
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors