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Mechanical Engineer

Thorlabs, Inc., Jessup, MD, 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 Approximately 2,300 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 a dynamically growing company in the Photonics sector designing and manufacturing complex optical systems from lasers to microscopes. We are looking for talented and motivated Mechanical Engineers with a proven record of industry and academic achievement to work as part of our Laser Division group located in the Washington D.C. metro area. The successful candidate must show strong analytical and communication skills, be comfortable doing hands-on work, be a self-starter, be detail oriented, organized, and disciplined in completing work assignments, and be prepared to thrive in a collaborative environment.


Purpose of the Position


The Mechanical Engineer will be responsible for the overall mechanical design of our products including laser systems, optical instruments, and laser accessories, covering all stages of product development from design to prototyping and release to production. The position will collaborate closely with an interdisciplinary group of engineers to design components and complex system-level assemblies using computer aided design tools and according to system requirements. Additionally, the position is responsible for drafting manufacturing drawings to ANSI standards suitable for the accurate manufacture of components by external vendors with an emphasis on price and volume. The responsibilities for this position also include sustaining engineering on released products.


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


  • Design and develop opto-mechanical structures for company’s advanced products during both research and product development efforts.
  • Produce mechanical drawings and other manufacturing documents for prototype and production of parts.
  • Basic optical calculations and simulations in conjunction with mechanical design to verify the design meets the specification.
  • Communicate with vendors and machine shops, to solve problems during manufacturing of mechanical parts.
  • Prototyping and testing, as part of the design and release process.
  • Release to production of designs, preliminary drafts of build documentation and assembly instructions, managing Engineering Change Orders, Bills of Materials, item creation within Thorlabs’ ERP system.
  • System level thinking and cross-disciplinary interactions.
  • Prepare regular reports on project status and progress.
  • Production support, as needed.



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.



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.

Job Requirements










  • Minimum of 3 years’ industry experience
  • Strong skills and experience with mechanical drawing software packages, such as SolidWorks, is a must. SW Simulation or COMSOL is a plus.
  • Managing complex assemblies with 100’s of parts
  • Experience with mechanical design of optical or medical devices
  • Motion control on micron-level
  • Basic knowledge of optical design in free space optics & fiber optics is a plus
  • Metal Machine Shop experience is a plus




  • BS in Mechanical Engineering, optics, instrumentation or a related field.


Specialized Knowledge and Skills:



  • Excellent decision-making skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Desire to work in a collaborative environment
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Good communications skills, both oral and written, technical presentation skills a plus


Physical Activities:


Work may be active, could stand or sit for long durations and/or perform repetitious work at times. Exerts up to 35 lbs. of force occasionally. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


01 April 2024
01 May 2024
Bachelor's Degree
Optical Components, Lasers, Sensors