SPIE Career Center
NOTE: You will be creating an SPIE user account. After the account is created you will be redirected back to the Career Center to sign in.
Browsing Job 22 of 67
In order to Apply for this job you must be signed into your user account. New users can register by selecting Create an Account.
Save Job
In order to Save this job you must be signed into your user account. New users can register by selecting Create an Account.

Optical Design Engineer

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Laurel, MD, United States
Employer Description

Are you an expert in Optical Engineering and have interest in Space Instrumentation?

If so, we may have a role for you.


The Space Science Instrumentation group at APL builds instruments for spacecraft to produce data for scientific research. We're a group of about 60 engineers with expertise that span across all aspects of space instrument production. You will join our team of multi-disciplinary staff including systems, optical, mechanical, structural, and thermal engineers in conjunction with our companion-group SRX that provides the electronics, FPGA, and software expertise.  Together we design, build, test, and deliver science instruments to spacecraft missions throughout the NASA portfolio – recent missions include instruments for Parker Solar Probe, DART, Europa Clipper, Dragonfly, and more.


Your primary role will be to design and analyze refractive and reflective objectives for space based remote sensing and imaging systems. Expertise is required in the fields of optical design, stray-light analysis, and integration and test activities in support of scientific instrument development throughout the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectrums.



As an Optical Engineer you will...


  • Support instrument concept development, proposals, fundamental design, prototyping, detailed design, build, and test activities, culminating with delivery of an instrument to a spacecraft and ongoing technical and operational support.
  • Push the envelope for space science instrumentation, detection capabilities, and scientific discovery.
  • Perform the necessary modeling, analysis, and test activities to finalize the design and prove that each instrument meets science, operational, and interface requirements prior to delivery.
  • Perform optical design – requirements capture, concept design, layout, ray tracing, simulation, radiometry, tolerance analysis, opto-mechanical interface, proposal efforts, generation of component drawings, and presentation.
  • Perform stray light analysis – modeling, simulation, mitigation design, and presentation.
  • Provide general laboratory and I&T support, including optical alignment, testing, and calibration.
  • Provide program support at status meetings and reviews - formal & informal presentations and documentation.
Job Description

You meet our minimum qualifications for the job if you...

  • Bachelor of Science in Physics, Optical Engineering, Imaging Science, or related discipline.
  • Experience with ray-tracing software such as Synopsys CODE V and/or Photon Engineering FRED.
  • Ability to create system performance budgets and perform radiometric analyses.
  • Knowledge of current detector technology for use in the visible to long wave infrared (LWIR).

You'll go above and beyond our minimum requirements if you...

  • Have 3-5 years of experience with regard to space system applications, thermal
    vacuum testing and/or optical engineering.
  • Master of Science in Physics, Optical Engineering, Imaging Science, or related discipline.
  • Experience characterizing and calibrating remote sensing systems in support of the production of scientific data products.
  • Experience performing structural, thermal, and optical (STOP) analysis.
  • Experience using computer aided design and finite element analysis software (eg. Creo Parametric and Ansys).

Be Part of Something Innovative


Over the past 25 years, the Space Exploration Sector at APL, has pushed the boundaries of what is possible; delivering game-changing impacts to sponsors like NASA and the Department of Defense. This includes historic, science space firsts like New Horizons reaching Pluto, Parker Solar Probe being the first to “touch” the sun, and the DART mission that redirected an asteroid for planetary defense. As a not-for-profit university affiliated research center, APL also delivered solutions to our nation’s national security challenges, as proven with the recent Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) Tech Demo, and acts as a trusted partner with the US Space Force in space domain awareness and space-integrated warfare.


APL teams are currently developing missions that will advance the search for life in the Solar System through programs such as Europa Clipper and Dragonfly, exploring the lunar and cislunar domains, and providing fundamental knowledge of our Sun’s influence on the near-Earth environment through IMAP and other research and technology endeavors.  To learn about these APL’s mission and projects, https://civspace.jhuapl.edu/ and https://www.jhuapl.edu/OurWork/NationalSecuritySpace.


Why work at APL?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) brings world-class expertise to our nation’s most critical defense, security, space and science challenges. While we are dedicated to solving complex challenges and pioneering new technologies, what makes us truly outstanding is our culture. We offer a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere where you can bring your authentic self to work, continue to grow, and build strong connections with inspiring teammates.


At APL, we celebrate our differences and encourage creativity and bold, new ideas. Our employees enjoy generous benefits, including a robust education assistance program, unparalleled retirement contributions, and a healthy work/life balance. APL’s campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at http://www.jhuapl.edu/careers.

24 May 2023
23 June 2023
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors