Electrical Engineer

California University of Technology
Pasadena, California, United States
14 Nov 2016
End of advertisement period
12 Dec 2016
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

Caltech Optical Observatories is seeking an Electrical Engineer or Experimental Physicist to join its Optical/Infrared Instrumentation Group. COO provides high-performance astronomical instrumentation for ground-based and space-based observatories around the world. We are seeking a professional with versatile analog and digital electronics expertise to support new and previously commissioned instrumentation. Anticipated projects include large-format, mosaic optical and NIR detector systems, motion control, custom board design and testing, and signal conditioning. Our group additionally conducts basic research of optical and infrared detector phenomena affecting the performance of space and large telescope missions.

Job Duties

  • Analog and digital design and integration
  • Evaluation and optimization of imaging sensor performance, creation and ongoing development of detector control electronics, real-time data acquisition systems
  • Development of experimental laboratory setups for instrumentation control, calibration, and validation
  • Design of electronic interfaces, test-signal generators, illumination systems and environmental controls
  • Grounding and packaging of low noise electronics
  • Schematic capture, circuit simulation, and PCB layout
  • Lifecycle support for astronomical telescopes and instruments deployed at Caltech observatories
  • Occasional lifting of items up to 30 lbs, to perform laboratory instrument integration’s
  • Other duties as assigned

This position is based at the Caltech campus with occasional travel to Observatory sites, industrial suppliers, or technical conferences.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in electrical engineering, physics, or related field OR Master’s degree with a minimum of 3 years of professional experience in electrical engineering, physics, or related field.
  • Demonstrated initiative and ability for design, integration, and trouble-shooting of electrical and electro-mechanical systems.
  • Excellent communication and strong motivation to pursue world-class experimental work in a multidisciplinary environment, and will engage intellectually in sensor characterization, performance optimization, and test algorithm development.
  • Occasional travel and work at high altitudes (up to 14,000 ft.) is required, including both daytime and nighttime schedules.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license at the time of employment and be able to maintain it throughout the course of employment.
  • Qualifications include ability to perform occasional work duties at high altitude and in low light level environments, lifting items up to 30 lbs. Please note, this position requires a criminal background check, DMV check and a physical exam including and eyesight exam.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with on-hand integration of astronomical instrumentation, detector systems, and related electronics.
  • Experience with DSP or FPGA programming, microcontroller programming, C++, Unix, Python, Matlab, IDL or IRAF, and / or LabView.
  • Experience with servo and stepper motors and associated controllers.
  • Sound understanding of analog circuit theory, feedback and control systems; analytical and experimental methods to predict and validate performance in time and frequency domains.
  • The ability to systematically develop models of physical phenomena, and the optimization of performance of detectors and their electronics, which may be operating at cryogenic temperatures.

Supervisory position?


Posting Detail Information

Posting Open Date


Posting Close Date

Open Until Filled


EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. For more information about “EEO is the Law” click here: EEO is the Law

Special Instructions to Applicants