Senior Optical Systems Engineer


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 a Senior Optical Systems Scientist.

Job Summary:

Support the Imaging Systems Group (QPI) within the Asymmetric Operations Sector (AOS). Work with a multi-disciplinary team of engineers to design high-end optical systems supporting various intelligence and operational customers.

Duties (Listed in order of importance with the estimated amount of time spent at each task):

  1. Lead and contribute to key technical efforts in the development of optical hardware and system analysis for novel imaging and remote sensing systems (65%)

  2. Document work in memoranda, sponsor briefs, conference proceedings, and journal articles; brief senior leadership and sponsors as required. (15%)

  3. Support operationalization of techniques through field integration and testing activities, data analysis, and lab experimentation. (10%)

  4. Work with group and program leadership to develop task assignment and staffing plans; participate in group-level strategic business planning, new business development and internal research and development (IR&D) efforts; mentor and assist in the professional development of junior staff (10%)

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:

Master's degree in imaging science, engineering, physics or equivalent and 7 years of related experience. Research background in optical science and engineering (such as microscopy, holography, adaptive optics, or OCT).

Ability to conduct hands-on electro-optical systems engineering including electrical, mechanical, and optical subsystem assembly and alignment, electro-optical test fixture development, systems troubleshooting, data collections and statistical analysis, and control and diagnostic software development.

Experience with test equipment such as oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, vibration sensing equipment and computer acquisition and analysis software, as well as analog and digital circuit design, signal processing and Fourier spectral analysis, probability and statistics, and computer vision. Good interpersonal skills, speaking and technical writing skills. Demonstrates ability to work independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. Ability to obtain and maintain a Secret clearance.

Desired Qualifications:

PhD and 5 years relevant experience in industry, consulting or academia. Additional skills include C programming and control systems theory. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including comfort briefing to very senior and large audiences. Strong organizational and planning skills, with a demonstrated ability to effectively lead and inspire high-performance teams of technical staff in solving complex problems. Demonstrated ability to collaborate in technical activities, as evidenced by co-authorship of technical papers, presentations, proposals and white papers with authors from other organizations.

Experience in interactions with senior leadership and decision makers in USG.

Current TS/SCI clearance.

Special Working Conditions: Must be eligible and willing to undergo DoD clearance requiring background investigation and/or polygraph examination. Preference for current SSBI.

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.

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