Principal Software Engineer, Automation, Optics | MKS Instruments

Feb. 9, 2023

MKS Instruments
Irvine, CA
All Candidates Welcome
POC: Krista McEuen 
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time type - Full time
posted on - Posted 10 Days Ago
job requisition id - R6672

Spectra-Physics, Ophir, Newport and ESI are brands within the MKS Instruments Photonics Solutions division. We provide a full range of solutions including lasers for precision industrial and scientific research applications, laser and LED measurement, beam profiling, precision motion control, optical tables and vibration isolation systems, photonics instruments, temperature sensing, opto-mechanical components, optical elements, and systems for flexible PCB laser processing, high-speed MLCC testing, and CO2-laser-based systems HDI PCB and IC substrate manufacturing. MKS Photonics Solutions enhance our customers’ capabilities and productivity in the semiconductor, advanced electronics and specialty industrial markets.

We are looking for an exceptional Principal Automation Software Engineer, who will work as part of a cross-functional team whose mission is to lead MKS on our journey to further automate the alignment and attachment of complex opto-mechanical assemblies. 

You will work with the design and development engineers to design-in automation early on, to verify and validate the design during the conceptual and prototyping phases, and with manufacturing engineering to implement these into volume production.

You will work within an interdisciplinary team of optical, mechanical, manufacturing. process and software/test/electrical engineers and experts. You will be responsible for the development of the software and computer interfaces of instruments from the product design to high volume manufacturing including all equipment, tooling and metrology solutions that will enable automation.

You will:

  • Design, develop, and implement software solutions to automate the alignment, attachment, and test of optomechanical


  • Participate in the development lifecycle of the product, from concept, to design, to production and find/propose ways to

optimize its manufacturability through automation.

  • Transform process steps and concepts into modular code to effectively automate procedures.

  • Interface with various hardware and software instruments by using instrument drivers (dlls, SDKs) and common protocols (USB, RS232, EtherCAT, GPIB…) to build control applications.

  • Create User Interfaces (UI) so the automated steps are easily and safely handled by production personnel.

  • Document and communicate the impact of your code using detailed comments and block diagrams at a level that even a non-programmer can understand.

  • Maintain revision control of the source code using agile methods for feature and delivery planning.

What will you bring to the team, along with your creativity is:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Physics, Optical, Mechanical, Automation Engineering, or related Engineering field.

  • 10+ years of experience using programming languages such as C++/C#, Python (preferred) Visual Basic, etc.

  • Experience with:

    • Interfacing applications with physical instruments (ex. power detectors, laser drivers, TEC, motorized stages, actuators, power detectors and meters).

    • Creating image processing algorithms by interfacing with cameras (CCD, CMOS…) and/or laser beam profilers.

It’s also nice if you have:

  • An advanced degree - Master or Ph.D. in Physics, Optical, Mechanical, Automation Engineering, or related Engineering field.

  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills.

  • Building User Interfaces (UI) with front end ease-of-use design and thoughtful back-end architecture.

  • Good understanding of optical and mechanical drawings, GD&T, tolerance analysis.

  • Demonstrated experience with automation:

    • Pick & place of optical components using motorized stages/actuators and machine vision.

    • Active alignment of optical components using motorized stages/actuators and laser metrology/image processing feedback.

    • Attachment of optical components using UV adhesive, laser welding or soldering technologies.

    • Characterization/test of opto-mechanical module performance pre- and post-attachment with optimization methods to reduce those differences.

  • Prior experience working with single-mode and/or multi-mode fiber optics and lasers, including diode lasers, solid-state lasers, and fiber lasers, from the UV to the NIR spectrum.

  • Experience with Statistical Process Control (SPC), and Lean Six-Sigma principles.

  • Experience with environmental qualification and reliability testing.

  • Expertise with 3D CAD modeling (Solidworks).

  • Experience with optical simulation and analysis (MATLAB, MathCAD, Zemax).

We are interested in a qualified candidate who is eligible to work in the United States. However, we will not be sponsoring work visas for this position, at this time.

Compensation and Benefits:
Salary Pay Range: $108,850 to 202,150 per year. This range is a good faith estimate of the expected salary range for this position, based on a wide range of factors including qualifications, experience and training, operational and business needs and other considerations permitted by law.  At MKS, it is not typical for an individual to be hired at or near the top of the range for the role.

Bonus: This position is eligible for a discretionary annual bonus, in an amount to be determined by MKS [or as applicable]. 

Benefits: MKS offers a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance coverage (medical, dental and vision), 401(k) with company match, life and disability insurance, 11 paid holidays, sick time, 15 paid vacation days, [6 weeks fully paid] parental leave, adoption assistance and tuition reimbursement [and for participation in any stock programs, signing bonus, etc.]. 

Globally, our policy is to recruit individuals from wide and diverse backgrounds. However, certain positions require access to controlled goods and technologies subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Applicants for these positions may need to be “U.S. persons.” “U.S. persons” are generally defined as U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, lawful permanent residents (or, green card holders), individuals granted asylum, and individuals admitted as refugees.

MKS Instruments, Inc. and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“MKS”) is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer: diverse candidates are encouraged to apply. We win as a team and are committed to recruiting and hiring qualified applicants regardless of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), religion, age, ancestry, physical or mental disability or handicap, marital status, membership in the uniformed services, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or any other category protected by applicable law. Hiring decisions are based on merit, qualifications and business needs. We conduct background checks and drug screens, in accordance with applicable law and company policies. 

MKS is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or interview process due to a disability, please contact us at: .

If applying for a specific job, please include the requisition number (ex: RXXXX), the title and location of the role

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