Senior Optical Engineer | HunterLab

Date Posted: 
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Position Level: 
Position Location: 
Reston, VA
Job Description: 


Do you like to collect and count photons? We do too! At HunterLab, we design and manufacture instruments that duplicate how our eyes see color. Our spectrophotometer systems are used by top manufacturers across the globe in virtually all industries and set the standard for accuracy, reliability and ease of use. We’re looking for a talented and enthusiastic Optical Engineer to join our R&D team.

If you:

  • are energized by experimenting and being challenged by the imperative of producing results
  • know that most ideas don’t survive contact with reality
  • succeed through trying, failing, learning, and then refining and improving methods
  • allow daily results to drive your innovation and measure yourself against hard metrics
  • prefer generating ideas and distilling actionable takeaways, changes, and innovations from the data over making speeches

Then your passion for development, eagerness to tackle tough challenges, and creative and agile mindset are exactly what we’re looking for…Join us!

HunterLab is currently seeking a Senior Optical Engineer who will provide the Engineering team with classical optical, modern electro-optics and system design support for both new product development and life-cycle support projects. This position serves as a senior key product development team member and also provides general optical engineering support to Manufacturing and other departments as needed.

Design-related responsibilities include the definition, design, modeling, testing and support of color measurement instruments. Specific knowledge of colorimetry, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, and color measurement principles and techniques are all highly desirable.

Essential Responsibilities:

  1. Formulate, evaluate, develop and analyze new optical designs for use in emerging and existing products. Conduct design reviews and present results clearly to peers and management. Optimize designs based on performance, cost, and manufacturability.
  2. Guide and participate in the new product development process including conceptualizing, prototyping, testing and transitioning products from R&D to production.
  3. Create and capture optical component and system designs using optical design tools - ZEMAX is required.
  4. Guide the testing and troubleshooting of optical systems. Develop optical test procedures.
  5. Author instrument performance test procedures to validate inter-instrument agreement, repeatability and reproducibility of measurements.
  6. Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

This individual will be expected to oversee and lead small ad hoc groups of fellow team members supporting defined development projects and tasks.

Minimum Requirements:

  • M.S. degree in Optics / Optical Sciences or similar design-oriented technical field, e.g. Mechanical / Electrical Engineering or Physics.
  • Minimum 5 years of related and relevant experience in an optical design role.

Required Specialized Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of a broad range of optics including imaging, illumination, radiometry and photometry, physical and geometric optics, statistics, and polarization.
  • Specialized understanding of sources (lasers and LEDs), diffraction gratings, light collection and detection methods, diffractive optics, optical materials, and thin film optics.
  • Optical component and system-level modeling and simulation.
  • Understanding of modern optical manufacturing methods and optical system fabrication.

Required Skills:

  • Proficiency in optical component, illuminant, and system-level modeling, ray tracing, performance prediction and analysis using Radiant ZEMAX software.
  • Modeling, simulation and analysis using Matlab or similar mathematical modeling and analysis tool.
  • Experience using electro-optic test equipment in a lab environment, specifically optical power meters, lock-in amplifiers, optical components and optical spectrum analyzers.
  • Demonstrated ability to troubleshoot and solve complex problems.
  • Strong analytical skills including the ability to collect, manipulate and analyze data in databases such as MS Access and spreadsheets such as MS Excel.
  • Familiarity and experience with solid modeling using parametric 3D CAD software. SolidWorks preferred.
  • Experience working with Configuration Management (CM) and Change Control practices under a current Quality Management System (QMS).

Other Desirable Skills and Experience:

  • Working knowledge of color measurement, Tristimulus functions, color spaces and scales, haze and turbidity are highly desirable.
  • Specific knowledge of colorimetry, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, and color measurement principles and techniques.
  • Experience using other optical and illumination modeling tools such as LightTools, FRED and ASAP.
  • Experience with instruments which measure color and appearance.
  • Electronic design experience including analog design, imbedded processor design, HDL coding and Analog to Digital converters.
  • Schematic capture, PCB design and electronic circuit simulation.
  • Programming of embedded processors, FPGAs and other similar logic devices using C/C++ and related languages.


  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to build solid working relationships with individuals and teams across the company.
  • Strong ability to work both independently and in a group atmosphere.
  • Proven ability to address shifting priorities.
  • Excellent and demonstrable oral and written communication skills.
  • A high level of professionalism, organizational skills and multitasking abilities.
  • Self-motivated, detail-oriented and the ability to work well under pressure.

Environmental and Physical Conditions:

  • Indoors in a normal office environment with little exposure to excessive noise, dust, fumes, vibrations and temperature changes.
  • Frequent computer usage at desks, benches and tables. Able to stand for long periods of time while working in a laboratory environment.
  • Specific vision abilities include close vision, color vision and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Frequent hand manipulation of tools, laboratory equipment and instruments.
  • Frequent movement around the office between floors.
  • Able to safely lift up to 50 pounds.

What’s Attractive to the Right Candidate?

At HunterLab, you will become an integral and respected part of the team. Our employees are known as “Associates” because we are all stakeholders in HunterLab’s continued success. This is clearly conveyed through our excellent benefits package which includes health, dental, vision, flexible spending account, EAP, vacation leave, sick leave, paid holidays, 401(k) including company match, education/tuition assistance, life insurance, disability insurance, Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and company profit sharing. Our Associates are offered long-term growth and opportunity and are proud to be on our team. With over 60 years of experience in our industry, you will become part of an outstanding group of experts in our industry. We’re also in walking distance to the Metro (Wiehle-Reston) Silver Line!


Please submit your resume to with “Senior Optical Engineer” in the subject line of the email.