Adaptive Optics Research Staff Member | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Date Posted: 
Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Position Location: 
Livermore, CA
Job Description: 

Reference #: REF1393G
Job Code: SES.2 Science & Engineering MTS 2 / SES.3 Science & Engineering MTS 3
Organization: Engineering
Position Type: Career Indefinite
Security Clearance: Anticipated DOE Q clearance (requires U.S. citizenship and a federal background investigation)
Drug Test: Required for external applicant(s) selected for this position (includes testing for use of marijuana)
Medical Exam: Not applicable

Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is essential to innovation and creativity for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Job Description

We have an opening for a Research Staff Member in the field of adaptive optics (AO) techniques, instrumentation, operation, and analysis. The successful candidate will be responsible for the construction, certification, and operation of a state-of-the-art adaptive optics testbed facility. This position is in the Optical Design and Engineering of Laser Systems Engineering and Operations division. The Laser Systems Engineering and Operations (LSEO) division is a part of the LLNL Engineering Directorate.

This position will be filled at either level based on knowledge and related experience as assessed by the hiring team. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if hired at the higher level.

In this role you will 

  • Construct, operate, and perform performance moderately complex to complex analysis of adaptive optics testbeds.
  • Perform opto-mechanical alignment of adaptive optics systems.
  • Contribute to other AO-related tasks and efforts.
  • Act as a technical resource for providing guidance and informal mentoring to more junior level staff.
  • Document and publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals and present results at external conferences, seminars, and/or technical meetings.
  • Collaborate with other scientists and technical personnel to accomplish research goals using broadly defined parameters, while working under limited direction.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.3 level

  • Construct, operate, and perform performance complex analysis of adaptive optics testbeds.
  • Act as a lead or formal mentor to technical staff and provide advice to management as needed.
  • Work independently, under minimal direction with parameters that may not be well defined and are of a complex nature.


  • Ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Master’s in physics, astronomy, or engineering with emphasis on adaptive optics or related field or an equivalent combination of education and previous relevant experience.
  • Broad experience and comprehensive knowledge with moderately complex to complex adaptive optics techniques, instrumentation, operation, and familiarity with AO telemetry.
  • Proficiency and broad experience with the operation and opto-mechanical performance of lasers and optical instrumentation.
  • Experience working on a research team with individuals from diverse technical backgrounds, as well as function as an independent researcher, working under limited direction, with a high level of attention to details.
  • Proven participation and contributions in the conception, design, and execution of research to address defined moderately complex to complex problems.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication skills necessary to work in a multidisciplinary team environment, author technical and scientific reports and publications, and deliver scientific presentations.
  • Documented publication record in peer-reviewed literature and technical reports.

Additional qualifications at the SES.3 level

  • Advanced knowledge and significant experience in complex adaptive optics testbeds.
  • Ability to act as a lead or formal mentor to technical staff and provide advice to management as needed.
  • Ability to work independently, under minimal direction with parameters that may not be well defined and are of a complex nature.

Qualifications We Desire

  • Recent PhD in physics, astronomy, or engineering with emphasis on adaptive optics or related field.
  • Experience with adaptive optics system numerical simulation tools such as LAOS/TAOS and/or atmospheric light propagation tools such as PROPER.
  • Experience with astronomical observations and installing optical instrumentation on astronomical telescopes.
  • Experience with design and operation of high energy lasers.
  • Experience in programming languages such as C++, Python, Mathab, or IDL.
  • Experience with opto-mechanical system design including optical design/analysis in tools such as Code V, FRED, ZEMAX, or equivalent.

Additional Information

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2021 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor
  • Work for a premier innovative national Laboratory
  • Comprehensive Benefits Package
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs)
  • Collaborative, creative, inclusive, and fun team environment

Learn more about our company, selection process, position types and security clearances by visiting our Career site

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

LLNL demonstrates its commitment to public safety by requiring that all new Laboratory employees be immunized against COVID-19 unless granted an accommodation under applicable state or federal law. This requirement will apply to all new hires including those who will be working on site, as well as those who will be teleworking.

Security Clearance

LLNL is a Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Laboratory.  Some positions will require a DOE L or Q clearance (please reference Security Clearance requirement above).  If you are selected and a clearance is required, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. In addition, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  An L or Q clearance requires U.S. citizenship.  For additional information please see DOE Order 472.2.

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position will be required to pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

Pre-Placement Medical Exam

A job related pre-placement medical examination may be required.

Equal Employment Opportunity

LLNL is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer that values and hires a diverse workforce. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

LLNS is committed to offering reasonable accommodations during the application and recruiting processes due to a disability.  If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please submit a request via our online form

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