LIGO Instrument Assembly Technician

California, United States
24 Jun 2020
End of advertisement period
24 Aug 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) has an opening for a LIGO Instrument Assembly Technician supporting equipment installation and testing to join its existing team working on improving the aLIGO Detector.

LIGO is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The current generation of advanced interferometers came on line in 2015 and shortly afterwards LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first observation of the birth of a black hole; this achievement led to the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics to its founders. LIGO consists of two widely separated (3,002 km), 4 kilometer-long interferometers operating as a single, phased detector. One (LIGO Hanford Observatory) is located north of Richland, Washington and the other (LIGO Livingston Observatory) is in Livingston, Louisiana.

Concurrent to observatory operations, the Laboratory maintains a vigorous R&D program, primarily centered at the Caltech and MIT campuses, to further enhance the capabilities of the LIGO detectors.  For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at http:\\

Reporting to the Operations Specialist Leader, the LIGO Instrument Assembly Technician’s primary responsibilities within the existing LLO team will be supporting the planned engineering upgrade to improve the aLIGO Detector.

The work location is at the LIGO Livingston Observatory, Livingston, Louisiana (LLO). This is a 3-year term project position.

Job Duties

  • Working in a cleanroom assist team lead with SEI and SUS assembly tasks
  • Following formal written procedures assemble, test, stage & move equipment & fixtures for A+ SEI and SUS
  • Following formal written procedures complete in-chamber installation, testing and alignment of A+ SEI & SUS equipment
  • Following formal written procedures receive, test, install and integrate electronics deliveries for A+ SEI & SUS equipment
  • Assist with cabling and testing of subassemblies
  • Monitor and record assembly measurements and configurations
  • Utilizing the LIGO inventory control system (ICS), manage the transport, storage, and processing of detector components
  • Provide shipping and receiving services for the site when required. Operate forklifts to unload trucks
  • Use LIGO’s Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to schedule, execute and record corrective and preventive maintenance work
  • Escalate any operational fault issues to Operations Specialist Lead using LIGO’s Fault Report System
  • Support the execution of LIGO’s Detector Improvements projects plan established by LIGO’s Chief Engineer. The work requires a high degree of coordination, communication, and scheduling and must be accomplished without causing chamber contamination
  • Maintain all general and job-specific safety certifications and carry out specific safety inspections. Report to site safety manager for all safety issues
  • Abides by and is responsible for performing all duties in accordance with all environmental, health and safety regulations, Laboratory policies, procedures and practices pertinent to this position
  • Must be able to lift equipment and/or instruments weighing 20 or more pounds
  • Other duties as assigned
  • Some travel may be required

Basic Qualifications

  • 3-5 years of experience developing, testing or operating scientific or other instrumentation, or equivalent coursework and laboratory experience
  • Proficiency with standard office computing applications (e.g., Word, Excel, and web applications)
  • Excellent English language written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to read and understand mechanical and electrical drawings, schematics, technical specifications, assembly instructions, and test procedures
  • Ability to qualify for and maintain safety certification for operation of overhead cranes, forklifts, pallet jacks, and personnel lifts
  • Ability to qualify for and maintain safety certification for working at heights
  • Excellent organizational skills, a high level of initiative, and the ability to work in a collaborative environment while maintaining a professional demeanor
  • Ability to communicate with people who have a broad spectrum of backgrounds and skills
  • Ability to evaluate, describe and act on quantitative information, which normally involves mathematical calculations
  • Strong teamwork skills and an ability to collaborate with coworkers having diverse skills and backgrounds 
  • An aptitude and enthusiasm to learn new skills, and to assist and train others
  • Ability to work occasional evening or weekend shifts as required by engineering and observing schedules
  • Safety oriented
  • Must have a valid driver’s license at the start of employment and maintain it throughout the course of employment
  • Must be able to lift 20 pounds or more
  • Must be able to travel occasionally, via airplane to other installations and collaborating institutions

Preferred Qualifications

  • Associate's or Bachelor's degree
  • Previous technical experience working in a cleanroom or high vacuum technology
  • Technical experience with lasers, optics, analog or digital electronics, cleanroom protocols, or high vacuum technology
  • Experience working in an observatory or other production laboratory environment
  • Experience in laser engineering or opto-mechanical systems design
  • Electronics assembly, testing or troubleshooting
  • Experience with very large research or industrial facilities
  • Programming and Information technology knowledge and experience

Required Documents

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter