Senior Optical Engineer

Introduction: The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), a national leader in scientific research and development, located midway between Baltimore and Washington, DC is seeking an Optical Engineer.

Job Summary: Design, develop, integrate and test space optical instruments that operate within the UV to IR band. This job is excellent for an optical engineer who prefers to develop a broad set of optical engineering skills in an exciting field as opposed to working in a narrowly focused specialty area . The prime task currently being developed includes both the narrow and wide field of view imagers that will image the Jupiter moon Europa.


  • Optical engineering – geometric design, concept design, radiometry, layout, ray tracing, simulation, opto-mechanical interface, requirements, trade studies, proposal efforts, presentation
  • Stray light analysis – modeling, simulation, mitigation design, presentation
  • General laboratory support and testing
  • Calibration – experiment design, error budgets, data analysis, execution, process, product, presentation

Note: This job summary and listing of duties is for the purpose of describing the position and its essential functions at time of hire and may change over time.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelors degree in optics or in physics/engineering with an optics concentration.
  • 5 years of experience in optical design, geometric and physical optics, requirements engineering, or tolerance engineering.
  • Good technical writing and presentation skills.

Desired Qualifications:

  • MS or greater in Optical sciences and >10 years of experience including demonstrated project experience in aerospace optical system design and stray light analysis.
  • Proficient with several of the more common optical design packages (e.g. Zemax, FRED, TracePRO, Code-V).
  • Demonstrated ability to lead small project teams and mentor junior staff.
  • Relevant experience with most of the following: broadband sources, monochromators, vacuum systems, diffractive devices, detectors, opto-mechanical design/interfaces, alignment and testing, ProE, IDL, MatLab, MathCAD, and Python.

Security: Applicant selected will be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship.

Benefits: APL offers a comprehensive benefits package including a liberal vacation plan, a matching retirement program, significant educational assistance, a scholarship tuition program for staff with dependents, and competitive salaries commensurate with skills and experience. For more information about our organization, please visit our web site at

Equal Employment Opportunity: Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments Acts of 1972, as well as other applicable laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

Meet Some of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory's Employees

Mary A.

Lead RF Systems Engineer

Mary Ann builds prototypes and integrates software and hardware communications in order to create complete systems for APL contracts and projects. She also collaborates with her team to fix software issues.

Gianni P.

Electrical Engineer

Gianni works on the design, modeling, and simulation of low- to high-fidelity radar projects for the lab. He also conducts tests to evaluate new technologies.

Back to top