Systems / Optical Engineer | Thorlabs, Inc.

Date Posted: 
Monday, February 8, 2021

Industrial Affiliates Employer Icon

Position Location: 
Sterling, VA
Job Description: 

We are seeking a talented Systems Engineer with a strong background in optical engineering.

The position is responsible for evaluating different imaging modalities, and their suitability to Thorlabs customers, as well as designing systems to implement those techniques. The ideal candidate will have experience designing optical systems and have a good understanding of optical alignment and tolerances, and how they affect image quality. The successful candidate will assist in bringing new products from prototype to production, with an emphasis on robust manufacture-able designs. The job includes occasional participation in detailed technical discussions with customers, sales, and field service members and may require some travel.

Essential Job Functionsinclude the following, but are not limited to:

  • Work independently and collaboratively with other engineers to develop systems, prototypes, and tests Life Science Imaging Systems.
  • Design precision multi-element lens systems, including tolerance analysis, metrology requirements, assembly procedures, and mechanical design support.
  • Routinely perform analyses, such as optical simulation, image simulation, and illumination modeling on lens systems.
  • Follow prototype designs from conception through manufacture.
  • Stay abreast of current industry trends and techniques relating to optical design, imaging, microscopy, and precision alignment.
  • Responsible for all related production documentation, which includes, bills of material, engineering drawings, testing requirements, tooling, and specification of thin-film coatings.
  • Provide web page data, descriptions, measurements, and graphs to support the web page team.
  • Interact with production personnel to define and solve manufacturing/design issues and implement cost reduction ideas regarding new and current company products.
  • Prepare technical data such as qualification test procedures, acceptance test procedures, reports, component maintenance manuals, etc.
  • Interact with vendors and purchasers concerning supplied and proposed components.
  • Acts as the technical expert for the company for both internal and external customers.
  • May be asked to install systems at customer locations and provide product training when needed.
  • The Company retains the right to change or assign other duties to this position.

Physical Activities:

The employee must frequently lift or move objects up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift or move objects up to 25 pounds.



  • 5+ years of complex system integration and development and minimum of 2 years in Optical Design


  • BS, MS or PHD in Systems Engineering, Optical Engineering, or equivalent

Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Skilled in the use of Zemax design software, or equivalent
  • Strong optics and photonics working knowledge, including imaging optics and illumination
  • Solid fundamental knowledge of inverted and upright microscopes and associated techniques in both wide-field and Fluorescence microscopy
  • Hands-on experience with assembly and troubleshooting of optical systems
  • Strong ability to take initiative
  • Flexibility/adaptability in a fast-paced & dynamic environment
  • Desirable skills and experience:
  • Whole-slide scanning
  • Image analysis and machine vision
  • Image classification and segmentation techniques
  • Scientific digital cameras and apps
  • Applied MATLAB programming
  • Electronic test equipment (oscilloscopes, voltmeters, etc.)
  • C/C++and/or C#/.NET application or utility development using Visual Studio

***Please be sure to complete an application on the Company’s career site for consideration.

Direct link provided below:***

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.