Optical Engineer | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Feb. 9, 2023

Reference #: REF3484X
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

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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.

Pay Range

$123,960 - $166,992 Annually for the SES.2 level
$148,650 - $200,328 Annually for the SES.3 level 

Please note that the pay range information is a general guideline only. Many factors are taken into consideration when setting starting pay including education, experience, the external labor market, and internal equity.

Job Description

We have multiple openings for experienced Optical Engineers. You will be responsible for optical systems design, modeling, analysis, and engineering for multiple challenges including high energetic laser systems, diagnostics, and high-fidelity optical systems. Your scope of work will involve parallel tasks with broadly defined priorities. These positions are 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.

These positions 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

  • Design and model moderately complex to complex optical systems such as high energy lasers and diagnostics in CODE V at both lens and system level and utilize these models to inform decisions and tradeoffs.
  • Design, analyze, and document complex optical component and system specifications.
  • Perform non-sequential/Stray light modeling, analysis, and systematic mitigation using FRED.
  • Understand the system-level big picture, diagnose complex problems, and propose solutions while working under limited direction.
  • Perform tolerancing and analysis of optical systems and subsystems.
  • Define moderately complex to complex optical requirements from physics requirements.
  • Present and explain technical information to a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, technicians, and designers.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.3 level

  • Perform complex physical optics simulation, optical tolerancing, and system parameter studies using advanced FRED scripting and modeling.
  • Pursue optical solutions with minimal oversight in situations that may not be well-defined.
  • Perform conceptual and preliminary designs of complex optical systems while leading optical design and engineering efforts.


  • Ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Master’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in Optical Engineering, Physics, or related field.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of and broad experience with CODE V or equivalent optical design software (Zemax, FRED, OSLO).
  • Thorough understanding of geometrical optics and lens design principles.
  • Ability to interpret moderately complex to complex optical and mechanical specifications.
  • Experience interfacing with customer product requirements related to optical specification and production techniques while working under limited direction.
  • Familiarity and some proficiency with MATLAB, Python and/or similar tools for data processing and simulation.
  • Strong technical motivation to help ensure projects have sound strategy and minimized risks while working to resolve moderately complex to complex engineering issues.
  • Strong technical and non-technical communication skills.
  • Strong interfacing and brainstorming skills as a team member.

Additional qualifications at the SES.3 level

  • Advanced optical system design skills.
  • Significant experience applying   advanced physical optics knowledge under limited direction.
  • Experience with and advanced knowledge of Macro-PLUS programming language in CODE V.
  • Extensive stray light simulation experience using FRED.

Qualifications We Desire

  • PhD degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in Optical Engineering, Physics, or related field.
  • Ability to understand complex problems and simplify them to a top-level generalization/parameterization.
  • Leadership skills for leading and managing small, multidisciplinary teams.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.



Position Information

This is a Career Indefinite position, open to Lab employees and external candidates.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2022 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor!
  • Flexible Benefits Package
  • 401(k)
  • Education Assistance
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. Also, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship. 

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position must 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.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We are an equal opportunity employer that is committed to providing all with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. 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.

We invite you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Reasonable Accommodation

Our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive experience for all candidates applying and interviewing at the Laboratory.  If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please use our online form to submit a request. 

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.