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R&D Optical Engineer V - RFCML

Company: University of Arizona
Location: Tucson
Posted on: March 17, 2023

Job Description:

R&D Optical Engineer V - RFCML

Posting Number

Steward Observatory

Department Website Link

Main Campus

Tucson, AZ USA

Position Highlights
The Department of Steward Observatory seeks to fill the position of an R&D Optical Engineer V to work at the Richard F Caris Mirror Lab.
The selected candidate serves as the subject matter expert in the different methods for evaluating the surface figures of the largest monolithic telescope mirrors in the world-as large as 8.4 meters (28 feet) in diameter; leads a team of three optical engineers. The candidate advises principal investigators, college administrators, and potential sponsors on what is possible in the surface figure evaluations for mirrors costing tens of millions of dollars, and after implementation, serves as the authority verifying the fidelity of the complementary evaluations for all stakeholders. Will also design and lead interdisciplinary teams of engineers to implement complementary optical/infra-red-light tests to match sponsors' requirements and to match the developmental state of the mirrors during production. In addition, the candidate calculates the surface figure aberrations caused by deviations from the ideal force and temperature distributions and investigates discrepancies in results between tests outside their modeled error distributions.

Outstanding UA benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance plans; life insurance and disability programs; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; UA/ASU/NAU tuition reduction for the employee and qualified family members; state and optional retirement plans; access to UA recreation and cultural activities; and more!

The University of Arizona has been recognized for our innovative work-life programs. For more information about working at the University of Arizona and relocations services, please click here.

Duties & Responsibilities

* Designs the surface figure evaluation strategy for mirrors during production and according to sponsors' requirements. Designs complementary surface figure evaluation tests according to the phase of mirror production and the tests' sensitivities. Models the Zemax light ray traces to ensure the light sources, lenses, test optic (mirror in fabrication), cameras, detectors and other metrology equipment are positioned within exacting tolerance. Performs error analyses in order to specify positioning requirements to the mechanical, electrical, and software engineers designing system components. Factors in environmental effects during tolerancing. Advises principal investigators, college administrators and sponsors on the limits of surface figure evaluations and develops novel, state-of-the-art solutions when sponsor requirements make it necessary.

* Implements a surface figure evaluation strategy for mirrors during production and according to sponsors' requirements. For example, for one prescription of off-axis 8.4 meter diameter mirrors, there are seven different tests depending on the state of production and to allow enough testing redundancy to provide confidence the mirrors' surface figure where deviations are within -1/30th of a wavelength of green light, on average, of the required surface figure, and the process of designing and constructing the tests took several years. Implementation involves guiding the work of mechanical, electrical and software engineers to design and install the equipment and supervising the work of three optical/metrology engineers to perform the surface figure evaluations.

* Writes, or approves the writing of, procedures for evaluating the efficacy of the metrology systems for conducting the surface figure evaluations. As subject matter expert, writes reports describing the expected performance of systems under design, as well as the demonstrated capabilities of the metrology systems, their limitations, and the methods those limitations were calculated. Writes, or approves the writing of, complex data analysis code using MATLAB and Zemax to process the data gathered, and to display the results in a way that others can recognize and use for continued production. Writes, or approves the writing of, and implements MATLAB code to predict the surface figure effect of force array and temperature deviations from ideal. Writes, or approves the writing of, and implements MATLAB code to guide the automated control of hexapods that precisely position the elements of the surface figure evaluations.

* Supervises the three optical and metrology engineers who assist in design of tests and who perform the tests in the lab and across all areas of Steward Observatory. Provides technical expertise and advice when they encounter the novel situations typically encountered during the research activities that they support. Troubleshoots metrology system anomalies and leads cross-functional teams to discover and implement solutions.

* Guides technicians in installing and testing the mirror support actuators in polishing cells that support the mirrors during fine grinding and polishing and the thermal sensing system used in the conduct of surface figure tests. Confirms the work of mechanical engineers performing the finite element analyses that identify the ideal force arrays for mirror support, then works with the technicians to ensure the force arrays provided by the installed actuators are within the tolerance necessary. Works with the technicians to ensure the temperature distributions are being measured accurately.

Additional duties may be assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master's degree in physics, optical sciences or engineering with an emphasis in Optics.
  • 10 years' experience in optical fabrication and testing

    Preferred Qualifications
    Preferred qualification: PhD in Optical Sciences or Physics with an emphasis in Optics.


    Full Time/Part Time
    Full Time

    Number of Hours Worked per Week

    Job FTE

    Work Calendar

    Job Category

    Benefits Eligible
    Yes - Full Benefits

    Rate of Pay

    Compensation Type
    salary at 1.0 full-time equivalency (FTE)


    Career Stream and Level

    Job Family
    Research Engineering

    Job Function

    Type of criminal background check required:
    Name-based criminal background check (non-security sensitive)

    Number of Vacancies

    Target Hire Date

    Expected End Date

    Contact Information for Candidates

    Open Date

    Open Until Filled

    Documents Needed to Apply
    Resume and Cover Letter

    Special Instructions to Applicant

    Diversity Statement
    At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. As an Hispanic-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

Keywords: University of Arizona, Tucson , R&D Optical Engineer V - RFCML, Engineering , Tucson, Arizona

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