Photonics Research and Development Scientist

Thorlabs Inc.
Jessup, Maryland
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time

This position supports the development and manufacturing of next-generation semiconductor lasers, namely, state-of-the-art MEMS-VCSEL swept-source tunable lasers for use in optical coherence tomography (OCT) applications. Responsibilities include contributing to the R&D process to develop initial prototypes and taking a laser product from prototype into manufacturing thru the development of test equipment in support of assembly line packaging and test. This position will require design, assembly, and testing of R&D prototypes, as well as support of both hardware and software for manufacturing assembly and test. This position involves working with a multi-disciplinary team of engineers including mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, software/database engineers, manufacturing personnel, and other electro-optic engineers to ensure that designs and manufacturing techniques will yield products that meet the customer’s specifications.

Essential Job Functions include the following, but are not limited to:

  • Conceptualize and design photonic products and test systems based on system and operational requirements
  • Prototype, develop, and characterize new laser products
  • Prototype and develop new laser test system hardware and software for use in production
  • Support new product introduction into manufacturing
  • Create budgets and schedules for these new developments
  • Maintain documentation for the product/system development process
  • Create and present engineering reports for performance/qualification analysis
  • Create assembly and test work instructions; train personnel
  • Specify & purchase parts and equipment required for R&D prototype development
  • Specify and purchase parts and equipment for new test systems; interact with vendors
  • Analyze device test performance for continual improvement and new requirements



  • Experience designing, developing, and testing semiconductor lasers and/or photonic integrated circuits
  • Experience with OCT systems, or related optical imaging/measurement systems
  • Experience automating various pieces of test equipment and/or motion control.
  • Hands-on experience in the photonics industry, laser or physics lab


  • Master’s degree (or higher) in Electrical Engineering, Physics or related field(s) is required.

Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Knowledge of photonic integrated circuits
  • Knowledge of OCT or related systems including signal processing algorithms
  • Experience with data analysis software (JMP, SQL, Matlab, Python)
  • Problem resolution skills for debugging new designs and assemblies
  • Manual dexterity to assemble and align precision opto-mechanical systems including interferometers and single-mode fiber coupling
  • Experience interfacing software with photonic test equipment for data acquisition
  • Knowledge of imaging laser applications, algorithms, and requirements
  • Knowledge of semiconductor lasers
  • High attention to details
  • Flexibility/adaptability in a fast-paced & dynamic environment
  • Ability to function autonomously with little direction/works well independently of others
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment
  • Effective written and oral communication

Thorlabs values its diverse environment and is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified individuals will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status. Job descriptions are not intended as and do not create employment contracts. The organization maintains its status as an at-will employer. Employees can be terminated for any reason not prohibited by law.


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Photonics Research and Development Scientist

Thorlabs Inc.
Jessup, Maryland

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