Job Id: 1189

Senior Adaptive Optics Scientist

Pasadena, CA

Play a lead role in the design, development, integration, and testing of the adaptive and active optics control subsystems with focus on the Laser Tomography Adaptive Optics (LTAO) observation mode. Assignments will encompass simulation of AO and telescope-segment phasing performance, developing/reviewing requirements and performance budgets, reviewing and analyzing the results of laboratory prototypes and Wavefront Control testbeds.

The Senior AO Scientist will work within the Wavefront Sensing and Control group reporting directly to the Wavefront Sensing and Control Manager and will collaborate closely with the Lead AO Scientist and other WFSC team members.

The position will participate in the review of test results from AO subsystems developed by partner institutions and industrial vendors, and will play a key role in the integration, testing, and commissioning of the AO system at Las Campanas Observatory.


  • Participate in the concept and design of real time LTAO and phasing control systems
  • Simulate Wavefront sensing and control performance using analytical models
  • Review test results and contribute to data processing of optical testbeds designed to verify active and adaptive optics control algorithms and end-to-end performance
  • Prepare technical reports to document the AO design and performance
  • Prepare and deliver presentations at technical reviews and conferences
  • Participate in the procurement and testing of AO-related subsystems such as wavefront sensors, calibration sources, real-time computer systems and/or laser guide star systems
  • Evaluate AO performance during telescope commissioning


  • Ph.D. in optical science, astronomy, physics, or a related field
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a cross functional collaborative team environment that spans the globe
  • At least five (5) years of experience in the development or use of adaptive optics systems
  • Outstanding analytical and simulation skills
  • Strength in AO theory, modeling techniques, components, and testing methods
  • Competency using high-level programming languages such as Matlab, IDL, or Python
  • Superb written and oral communication skills in English
  • Willingness to travel to foreign and domestic vendor and observatory locations as the need arises


  • Real time controls experience
  • Systems Engineering experience
  • Hands-on experience developing and testing astronomical adaptive optics systems or laboratory optical testbeds
  • Versed in use of Zemax, Code V, or similar optical design and analysis tools


Normal office and laboratory environments


No special requirements

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